What is orthopedics?

Orthopedics is a medical specialty that focuses on the diagnosis, correction, prevention, and treatment of patients with: skeletal deformities or disorders of the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and skin. These elements make up the musculoskeletal system.

Your body’s musculoskeletal system is a complex system of bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves and allows you to move, work and be active. Once devoted to the care of children with spine and limb deformities, orthopedics now cares for patients of all ages, from newborns with clubfeet, to young athletes requiring arthroscopic surgery, to older people with arthritis.

The physicians who specialize in this area are called orthopedic surgeons or orthopedists.

When you would be referred to an orthopedic doctor?

Many people wonder if they should visit an orthopedic specialist or go to their primary care doctor. There are some specific times that it may speed recovery time to visit the orthopedist directly. Anytime that that there is a suspected traumatic or repetitive motion injury to a bone, joint, tendon or nerve an orthopedic doctor is your best choice for treatment.  If the patient is experiencing chronic joint or bone pain, diagnosed with a rheumatic disease, or have arthritis an orthopedic specialist is an important part of treatment.

If you have any of the following symptoms, we recommend you make an appointment with your physician to be evaluated.

  • You have pain, stiffness, or discomfort that are making it difficult to perform everyday activities
  • You are experiencing chronic pain (pain lasting longer than 12 weeks)
  • You’re noticing decreases in your range of motion
  • You feel unstable while walking or standing
  • You have had a soft tissue injury, and it’s not improving after 48 hours

What does the orthopedic doctor treat?

Orthopedic doctors treat a wide range of problems beyond sports injuries. People see orthopedic doctors to get advanced treatment for these problems:

  • back pain, scoliosis and herniated disc
  • hip problems
  • arthritis
  • fractures
  • broken bones
  • torn ligaments & muscles
  • muscle strains & sprains
  • work injuries
  • bone tumors
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Ganglion cyst
  • age-related conditions like osteoporosis

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