Gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, is a complex disease that affects everyone differently. That’s why all gout patients should follow unique treatment plans tailored to their specific needs. But your primary care doctor may not have all the information you need to manage your gout successfully. That’s where specialists come in: a gout specialist, called a rheumatologist, has the right skills and insight to help you stay in control of your gout. Here’s why: 1. A rheumatologist completes extensive training in gout and is an expert in gout care. A rheumatologist is a physician who specializes in treating diseases related to the muscles and joints, as well as autoimmune conditions, collectively known as rheumatic diseases. Rheumatologists must train extensively to master this area of study. A rheumatologist will have expertise in treating gout, autoimmune diseases, and other conditions related to the muscles and joints. All doctors complete a training program called a residency after they finish medical school. But rheumatologists receive considerable training beyond that. Rheumatologists spend several additional years in a fellowship, during which they train under experienced rheumatologists and focus on patients with gout and other rheumatic diseases. At the end of this period, specialists can take an exam to become board-certified rheumatologists. Look for a doctor who is board certified in rheumatology and you’ll know you’re seeing an expert. 2. A rheumatologist never stops learning about gout. To maintain their board certifications, rheumatologists must keep up with new developments in their field. They must complete continuing education and renew their licenses every few years, depending on the state in which they practice and other factors. By following these requirements, board-certified rheumatologists stay on top of new treatments and discoveries about the mechanisms involved in gout, so they can then provide their patients with insightful, informed, and up-to-date treatment plans. 3. A rheumatologist has extensive experience in treating gout. Rheumatologists see a higher volume and concentration of patients with gout, and thus are more experienced in treating the condition successfully. Because they see lots of patients with gout, they can add real-world knowledge of the disease to their academic and clinical training. They’re able to assess how well patients respond to certain treatments, have a deeper understanding of how gout progresses over time, share insight about effectively implementing lifestyle changes, and recognize symptoms that a general practitioner may miss, among other skills. 4. A rheumatologist is a team player. Rheumatologists work with teams of other health care providers who treat patients with gout and can connect patients with dietitians, exercise physiologists, therapists, and other experts in gout management. Working with a team can help patients address all aspects of the disease and ensure success. 5. It’s easy to find the right rheumatologist for you. There are thousands of rheumatologists in the United States, so how do you know which is the right doctor for you? By searching on Healthgrades.com, you can identify the best rheumatologist to help you manage your gout successfully.