Your symptoms sound very painful and distressing. Joint pain can be one of the most frustrating conditions to deal with as a patient since it effects every part of day-to-day life.
There are many different things that can cause joint pain, but for a young woman with multiple joints that are painful and have been painful over a period of months, a rheumatologist
is the best specialist to see on consultation. Several different autoimmune conditions can present with swollen joints, and this family of diseases is more common in women and can present at a younger age. In order to determine what is possibly going on, it will be important for a physician to take a very thorough and detailed history. He or she will also likely want to order some specific laboratory tests. It is a good idea to check the basic labs that you have already had checked, but there are many different diseases other than rheumatoid arthritis
that can cause symptoms such as those you describe. The fact that your complaints seemed to respond (if only a little) to prednisone also suggest that there may be an element of autoimmune disease at work.
Overall, it is probably best to wait to see a rheumatologist. Your family physician
should be able to help facilitate a referral to a physician who may be able to see you more promptly. Unfortunately although orthopedists do treat joint conditions, they do not manage or treat the kinds of inflammatory conditions that your symptoms bring to mind. Given that your symptoms have become acutely worse, it is probably best to return to your family physician so he/she can examine the new joint changes and help you be seen by the appropriate specialist.