Rheumatology deals with the investigation, diagnosis and management of patients with arthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. Rheumatic diseases can affect your joints, muscles, soft tissues and bones causing pain, swelling, stiffness and deformity.

Our consultant rheumatologists treat many rheumatic diseases including: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, musculoskeletal pain disorders, osteoporosis, gout, lupus, vasculitis, back pain and tendinitis. A significant number of musculoskeletal conditions can also affect other organ systems. 

Many types of rheumatic diseases are not easily identified in the early stages. Consultant rheumatologists are specially trained to do the detective work necessary to discover the cause of swelling and pain. It’s important to determine a correct diagnosis early so that appropriate treatment can begin promptly as some musculoskeletal disorders respond best to treatment in the initial stages of the disease. Rheumatology specialists always work closely with their patients to identify the problem and design individual treatment plans.

Common rheumatology conditions we treat

Inflammatory arthritis

Inflammatory arthritis, also known as autoimmune diseases, describes a group of conditions which affect the immune system. This means that your body’s defence system starts attacking its’ own tissues instead of germs, viruses and other foreign substances. This can cause inflammation, pain, stiffness and joint damage.

The most common forms of inflammatory arthritis are: rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis.

Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common type of arthritis in the UK. There’s no cure for rheumatoid arthritis. However there are many treatments that can suppress the disease process in the joints, reduce damage and control symptoms. Over the counter pain killers, steroids, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), biological medicines, physiotherapy, complimentary therapies and surgery may be recommended.

Psoriatic arthritis is linked to the skin condition psoriasis. It causes stiffness, pain and lack of movement in your joints. Exercise, rest, achieving a healthy weight, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), biological medicines, surgery and complimentary medicines may help treat psoriatic arthritis.

Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the joints in your spine. Symptoms often develop slowly including: back pain and stiffness that improves with exercise but not rest, pain and swelling in other parts of the body (hips, knees and ribs) and fatigue. There is no cure but treatment involving exercise, physiotherapy, medication and sometimes surgery will relieve these symptoms and help prevent or delay the progression of AS. 


Gout is a type of arthritis in which small crystals form inside and around the joints caused by a build-up of uric acid in your blood. Gout causes sudden swelling and severe pain in your joints. It's more common in people over 30 and affects more men than women.

Initially raising and resting your joint and keeping it cool using ice might help. Further treatments may include over the counter pain killers, lifestyle changes, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, colchicine or corticosteroids or steroid injections.

Connective Tissue Disease

Connective tissue diseases are group of medical diseases. A connective tissue disease is any disease that has the connective tissues of the body as a primary target of pathology. Connective tissue is the material inside your body that supports many of its parts. Cartilage and fat are examples of connective tissue.

Our rheumatologists diagnose and treat many disorders that impact on connective tissue. Some are the result of an infection such as cellulitis. Injuries, such as scars, can cause connective tissue disorders. Others are genetic and include: Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Marfan syndrome and osteogenesis imperfecta or have no known cause such as scleroderma. Each connective tissue disease has its own symptoms and requires different treatment.


Osteoporosis is a common condition that weakens your bones, making them fragile and more likely to break (fracture). Osteoporosis can affect all age groups, but it's most common in post-menopausal women. It is diagnosed if your bone density is lower than average.

Treatment will be based on the results of a DEXA scan, your age, sex, risk of fracture and previous injury history. Medicines, hormone replacement therapy or calcium and vitamin D supplements may be recommended to increase your bone density. Men with osteoporosis caused by insufficient production of male sex hormones may be prescribed testosterone treatment.

Soft tissue and joint injections

Soft tissue and joint injections are shots with a needle into an inflamed soft tissue space (such as the space between a muscle and a bone) or joint (such as your knee), that can offer fast-acting pain relief. The needle may be used to take out fluid or to put in medicine. Anti-inflammatory medicines such as corticosteroids and pain relievers such as lidocaine are the most common medicines used for soft tissue and joint injections 

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