What is orthopedics?
Orthopedics is a medical specialty that focuses on the body’s musculoskeletal system. Therefore, orthopedic surgeons work on the bones, muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments and nerves that allow us to move, work and function.
Hence the orthopaedic surgeon is said to work majorly on the bones, ligaments, joints, nerves and tendons of the body which allows every human being to work, function as well as move around. This kind of medicine is mostly known to involve various processes such as treatment, prevention and rehabilitation of the injuries or any kind of disorders which are related to the musculoskeletal system. The injuries can be of any kind such as the fractures related to the bones or the dislocations of the bones, strains or any kind of sprains.
Various other kind of conditions which can be treated by an orthopaedist are, damage caused to the muscles, arthritis, cerebral palsy, disorder of the spine such as scoliosis, sciatica, and the ruptured discs, osteoporosis, tumor of the brain and certain kind of abnormalities including bow legs, knock knees, club foot, bunions, and hammertoes.
Many of the orthopaedic patients reach out to the orthopaedic surgeon for any kind of general pain which may be experiencing such as of the limb, back or the joints. The doctor would then diagnose the condition or they can provide certain tips for getting such general form of pain treated well.
This type of medicine involves diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and prevention of any injuries or disorders relating to the musculoskeletal system. These injuries may be fractures of the bones, dislocations of the joints, sprains and strains.
Other conditions an orthopedist can treat are:
- Muscle damage
- Spine disorders such as sciatica, scoliosis and ruptured discs
- Bone tumors
- Cerebral palsy
- Abnormalities like club foot, bow legs, knock knees, hammertoes and bunions
More than 28 million Americans develop a musculoskeletal problem each year. Besides the previously mentioned conditions and injuries, many orthopedic patients see an orthopedic doctor for general pain they are experiencing in a limb, a joint, the back, etc. The doctor can then diagnose a condition or provide tips for treating the general pain.
Common procedures performed by an orthopedic surgeon
While not all patients need surgery, it is common for orthopedic surgeons to perform procedures including:
- Arthroscopy: This procedure entails the use of special cameras to view and diagnose problems within a joint.
- Osteotomy: In this procedure, bone deformities are corrected by cutting and repositioning the bones.
- Internal fixation: This is a technique in which metal plates, pins or screws are used to hold the broken bone in place while it heals.
- Fusion: Doctors use this method to weld or fuse together broken bones so they will heal as one solid bone.
- Soft tissue repair: This treatment involves mending soft tissue including ligaments and tendons.
- Joint replacement: As the name suggests, joints are replaced during this procedure. Joints that have been damaged or affected by arthritis are replaced with a prosthetic.
Many patients visit an orthopedic surgeon and do not need any type of surgery. This is very common. In these cases, it is typical for an orthopedist to treat the condition or injury with activity modification or physical therapy.
It is common for an orthopedic surgeon to specialize in a particular area like the spine, foot and ankle, hip, hand, shoulder and elbows, or knee for example.
An orthopedist can also specialize in any of the following practices and procedures:
- Joint replacement
- Muscular oncology
- Reconstructive surgery
- Sports medicine
In the United States, orthopedic surgeons must complete high levels of education. They go to four years of undergraduate college followed by four years of medical school. Then, they partake in five years of residency training in orthopedic surgery. These doctors may complete additional training and further education to specialize in their practice.
The sports related injuries can range from overuse of the injuries such as tendonitis, muscle strain and sprain, ligament tear and breaking of the bones. Few of the most common type of injuries which can be seen in a sports person are tendinopathy, fractures, sprains, concussions, and meniscus tears or any other cartilage injury. Fractures are known to occur in any part of the body. When there is a fracture the ligament can also get damaged. The orthopaedist may make use of casting or splinting so that the patient would be able to engage themselves in the ordinary activities again. In certain cases, there would be a need for surgery.
Most of the patients who visit the orthopaedic surgeon would not need any kind of surgery to be carried out and this is a common scenario. In such kind of cases it is very typical for the orthopaedist to get the condition treated or get the injury treated with the help of activity modification or the use of physical therapy. For an orthopaedic surgeon it is quite common to specialise in particular areas of their field such as the foot, hip, elbows, spine, ankle, shoulder, knee and hands. They can also specialise in any of the procedures as well as practices including, arthroscopy, paediatrics, replacement of joint, rehabilitation, sports medicine, trauma, muscular oncology, reconstructive surgery. In the United States alone, it is a must for the orthopaedic surgeon to at least complete higher levels of education. They have to go in for four years of undergraduate college after which they have to also attend a four-year medical school degree. After completing this they can then take part in the five years of residency training in the field of orthopaedic surgery. These doctors can also complete any kind of additional training as well as any further education for specialising and getting a mastery in the practice.