Rheumatology is a branch of medicine concerned with disorders of the skeleton and the soft tissues which support it, such as ligaments, tendons, muscles, synovium (joint lining) and cartilage.
There is a wide range of rheumatological disorders, from simple soft tissue disorders such as tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon) through to complex diseases affecting more than one bodily system. These diseases may cause various symptoms which are not necessarily confined to the musculoskeletal system. Therefore, although arthritis may be the condition most closely associated with this specialty, joint inflammation is only one of many clinical features. There are over 200 types of rheumatic disease and over nine million people in the UK have some form of arthritis.
Conditions which may be seen by a rheumatologist include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Psoriatic arthritis
- Connective tissue disorders eg. lupus
Our Communications team recently featured an article on the department which can be read here.