Obtaining a Quality Diagnosis
The medical management of arthritis and joint degeneration may be handled by a family doctor, an internist, or a rheumatologist. However, when medical management is not effective, an orthopaedic surgeon should be consulted to determine if surgery is an option. In some cases, the orthopaedic surgeon may be the first physician to see a patient and make the diagnosis of arthritis.
The Orthopaedic Evaluation
While every orthopaedic evaluation is different, there are many commonly used tests that an orthopaedic surgeon may consider in evaluating a patient's condition.
In general, the orthopaedic evaluation usually consists of :
- A thorough medical history
- A physical examination
- Additional tests, as needed
A medical history is taken to assist the orthopaedic surgeon in evaluating your overall health and the possible causes of your joint pain. In addition, it will help him or her determine to what degree your joint pain is interfering with your ability to perform everyday activities.
What the physician sees during the physical examination, helps confirm (or rule out) the possible diagnosis. The physical exam will also enable the orthopaedic surgeon to evaluate other important aspects, including: