We all know someone who has been stopped in his or her tracks by bone, muscle or joint pain. Musculoskeletal conditions and pain affect people at any time and any age, keeping people of all ages from working or enjoying life. The good news is that everyone—from the child with scoliosis to the person with traumatic injuries requiring limb-saving surgery—can benefit from the expertise of an orthopaedic surgeon. There are treatment options that help people lead happier and more productive lives.

What is Orthopedics?

Orthopedics is a medical specialty that focuses on the diagnosis, correction, prevention and treatment of patients with skeletal deformities - disorders of the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and skin. These elements make up the musculoskeletal system.
Orthopedic conditions can be treated operatively and nonoperatively with medications, physical therapy, exercise, alternate therapies or by a host of surgical procedures, including some that are minimally invasive and thus less traumatic to the body than traditional open surgery.

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.

Role of the Orthopedist:

Orthopedists use medical, physical and rehabilitative methods as well as surgery and are involved in all aspects of heath care pertaining to the musculoskeletal system. It is a specialty of incredible breadth and variety.
In general, orthopedists are skilled in the:

  • Diagnosis of your injury or disorder
  • Treatment with medication, exercise, surgery or other treatment plans
  • Rehabilitation by recommending exercises or physical therapy to restore movement, strength and function
  • Prevention with information and treatment plans to prevent injury or slow the progression of diseases

Typically, as much as 50 percent of the orthopedist’s practice is devoted to non-surgical or medical management of injuries or disease and 50 percent to surgical management. Surgery may be needed to restore function lost as a result of injury or disease of bones, joint, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves or skin.

The orthopedist also works closely with other health care professionals and often serves as a consultant to other physicians. Orthopedists are members of the teams that manage complex, multi-system trauma, and often play an important role in the organization and delivery of emergency care.

Orthopedics Treatments:

Orthopedic patients have benefited from technological advances such as joint replacement, and the arthroscope that allows the orthopedist to look inside a joint. But your visit will start with a personal interview and physical examination. This may be followed by diagnostic tests such as blood tests, X-rays, or other tests.

Your treatment may involve medical counseling, medications, casts, splints, and therapies such as exercise, or surgery. For most orthopedic diseases and injuries, there is more than one form of treatment. Your orthopedist will discuss the treatment options with you and help you select the best treatment plan to enable you to live an active and functional life.

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