Making a proper diagnosis is a fundamental part of every patient encounter. Once a diagnosis is made, a treatment plan can be devised and implemented, and hopefully the problem can be rectified.
When I was in medical school, much of the training I received consisted of improving my diagnostic skills. I was taught to take a proper patient history, perform a physical exam, and order the appropriate tests to confirm or dismiss the diagnosis that I was considering.
It’s important to understand that there are more than 100 different diagnoses that fall under the diagnosis of arthritis. The most common forms of arthritis include:
• Ankylosing spondylitis
• Infectious arthritis
• Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
• Psoriatic arthritis
• Rheumatoid arthritis
Each of these forms of arthritis have different underlying causes and presentations. Therefore, it is essential to properly identify the arthritis in order to develop a treatment plan.
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