Healthy Living

What Conditions Does a Bone Doctor Treat?

What Conditions Does a Bone Doctor Treat?

What is a bone doctor?

A bone doctor is also known as an orthopedist or an orthopedic surgeon. Bone doctors specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, diseases, and conditions. Their practice is also seen in other areas, such as pediatrics, sports medicine, trauma, reconstructive surgery, and oncology. They also help prevent and rehabilitate injuries of the bone, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. 

Conditions Treated by a Bone Doctor

The following are some of the conditions bone doctors treat:

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1. Arthritis

Arthritis is a chronic disease characterized by joint inflammation. There are more than a hundred different types of arthritis, but the most common types are:

  • OsteoarthritisOsteoarthritis is a chronic joint disease that often affects the middle-aged and the elderly, but young people may also develop this disease due to injury or overuse. It is also the most common type of arthritis. Osteoarthritis destroys the cartilage and causes joint space narrowing, making the bones rub against each other. People with osteoarthritis often experience pain in their hands, hips, spine, and knees. 
  • Rheumatoid ArthritisThis type of arthritis may cause deformities in the joints and the formation of lumps (rheumatoid nodules) anywhere in the body. The joints that are usually affected by rheumatoid arthritis are those that are located in the hands, wrists, ankles, feet, knees, elbows, and shoulders. The condition is also more commonly seen in women than men and in people who are 30-50 years old. 

2. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a type of bone disease that makes the bones easy to break. People with osteoporosis have thin and brittle bones making them more prone to having fractures (broken bones) in the wrist, spine, or hip. This bone disease is also more common in women than men and usually starts after 60 years old. 

Symptoms rarely occur during the early stages of bone loss. However, once the bones have become weakened by the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be experienced:

  • A hunched or stooped posture
  • Height loss
  • Back pain due to a collapsed vertebra or fracture
  • Frequent bone fractures

3. Hand Injuries

Any 27 bones of the hand can be prone to fracture. Most common hand injuries happen in the wrist when we try to protect ourselves during a fall or blow. Orthopedic doctors treat injuries and conditions of the hand, such as:

  • Congenital hand deformities
  • Arthritis of the hand or wrist
  • Dupuytren's contracture
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tendonitis
  • Nerve and tendon injuries
  • Thumb injuries

4. Arm Injuries

The human arm consists of the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, and upper arm. Arm injuries can be caused by a birth defect, trauma, or stress fractures

Most cases of arm injuries are experienced by athletes. Any component of the shoulder may get injured due to certain actions, such as baseball throwing and other repetitive motions. Children also have an increased risk of developing complications when damage occurs in or around the growth plate. 

Other injuries or conditions of the arm include:

5. Elbow Injuries

When a significant force or blow to the elbow occurs, elbow fracture of the distal humerus can occur. This type of injury usually occurs when a person falls and lands on an elbow and vehicular accidents. Such fractures can be quick to happen and may cause a sharp sudden pain.

The elbow joint may also get separated in elbow injuries. Other symptoms experienced by people with elbow injuries include numbness in the fingers, pain, swelling, abrasion, and bruising. Arthritis can also occur due to elbow fractures, which may lead to deformities.

The conditions related to elbow injuries include:

  • Arthritis
  • Athletic throwing injuries
  • Biceps tendon tear 
  • Congenital abnormalities
  • Dislocated elbow
  • Fractured elbow
  • Lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow)

6. Bone Cancer

It is usually rare for tumors to develop within the bone itself. Bone tumors often develop from other cancers, such as those that occur in the breast, prostate, thyroid, lung, or kidney. Possible causes of bone cancer may include exposure to radiation or genetic mutations. 

Bone cancer can be treated using the following treatment methods:

An orthopedic surgeon can perform surgery for the treatment of cancer-related joint and bone problems. 

7. Foot Injuries

To help diagnose foot injuries, imaging tests may be recommended. Foot injuries and conditions that orthopedic doctors treat include:

  • Arthritis of the foot or ankle
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • Flat feet 
  • Ligament sprain and tendonitis
  • Plantar fasciitis and bunions
  • Hammer toes and claw toes

8. Hip Injuries

For hip fractures, surgical intervention is needed in most cases. The cartilage may be repaired and the bones may be repositioned with a biocompatible metal. Hip injuries may also occur when people fail to warm up before doing strenuous exercises and other activities. 

Hip injuries and conditions include:

9. Knee Injuries

Knee injuries may occur due to strenuous exercise or direct trauma. These injuries cause discomfort and limited mobility. Bone doctors may suggest the use of crutches or a brace. Surgery may be needed if the muscle, tendon, or ligament is torn. Knee injuries and conditions include:

  • Bursitis
  • Arthritis
  • Anterior knee pain
  • Ligament injuries
  • Meniscus tears
  • Knee tumor
  • Tendon injuries
  • Strains and sprains

10. Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries include the following conditions:

  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Biceps tendon tear
  • Clavicle fracture
  • Dislocated shoulders
  • Separated shoulder
  • Thoracic outlet syndrome

When to See a Bone Doctor

The body has more than 300 bones and joints, and if one of them is not properly functioning, pain and discomfort may be experienced. 

It is time to see a bone doctor if you have any of the following conditions:

  • Chronic pain
  • Difficulty performing daily tasks and other activities
  • Limited range of motion
  • Unsteady gait or walking abnormalities
  • Soft tissue injuries that do not improve within 48 hours 

Key Takeaways

  • A bone doctor is also known as an orthopedist or an orthopedic surgeon. 
  • Bone doctors specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, diseases, and conditions. 
  • Their practice is also seen in other areas, such as pediatrics, sports medicine, trauma, reconstructive surgery, and oncology.