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Dr Louise Warburton, a GPSI in musculoskeletal medicine, shares her favouritewebsites for patients and professionals

Dr Louise Warburton, a GPSI in musculoskeletal medicine, shares her favouritewebsites for patients and professionals

Arthritis Research Campaign

This is my favourite and most used rheumatology website. It has a wealth of information for patients and health care professionals alike. The ARC website also has useful summaries of all the rheumatology drugs in use, from methotrexate to the newer anti-TNF drugs, and these can be printed off to give to patients. They advise on blood tests and monitoring for both GPs and patients.

Best for:

I use this website to give patients information about their diseases. I have a supply of their excellent free booklets in my consulting room. You can order copies online or access them during the consultation.

Another section is for health professionals and contains text from Synovium and Hands On, which are sent free to all GPs three times yearly. They are useful reference texts if I need to look something up quickly.

There are also free teaching aids for registrars and students in the form of a textbook and DVD on examination of the musculoskeletal system and musculoskeletal ultrasound. I use these when teaching registrars.

Primary Care Rheumatology Society

This website represents primary care doctors who have an interest in rheumatology. There are arthritis guidelines written with GPs in mind. There are also details of the society's activities and learning events.

Best for:

I find the guidelines very useful and I particularly like the Shoulder Masterclass, which gives basic, easy-to-follow information about shoulder pathology, how to examine a shoulder joint and make a diagnosis and how to treat each condition. The shoulder is a difficult joint to get to grips with and I find I need to refresh my knowledge from time to time and this is the ideal place.

British Society for Rheumatology

This site has free access for anyone, so its guidelines on the diagnosis and management of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are readily available to any health professional.

Best for:

I use the guidelines for useful outlines on blood testing and other monitoring for all disease modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs). There is clear advice on interpreting and managing the degree of abnormality in blood results.

For example, should the GP contact specialist help, or simp ly repeat in a week or fortnight? I find these invaluable when looking at my blood results; it is impossible to remember all the rules!

There are also useful guidelines on improving the care of patients with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. These are worth reading for any GP, as they give standards we should all be aiming to achieve.


This is an American website but has a link to an excellent patient information resource.

Best for:

The patient information resource contains printable patient leaflets about orthopaedic conditions, even the rare ones. Personally, I use these to educate myself about these orthopaedic conditions so that I can be fully informed when I speak to patients.


Another patient-centred website I use.

Best for:

This link shows patients how to perform muscle stretches. Some are quite detailed and should not be used without the guidance of a physiotherapist.

Louise Warburton is a GP in Ironbridge, Shropshire, a GPSI in musculoskeletal medicine and a clinical assistant in rheumatology – Dr Warburton is a member of the Arthritis Research Campaign's primary care working party and sits on the steering committee of the Primary Care Rheumatology Society

Competing interests None declared

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