What is an Orthopedic Surgeon?
An Orthopedic Surgeon is a doctor that specializes in the treatment of patients with injuries and disorders of the bones, muscles, ligaments, joints and nerves which make up the musculoskeletal system of the human body. All Orthopedic Doctors are surgeons because many of the injuries and disorders they treat may require surgical intervention. However, not all orthopedic injuries and disorders require surgery. Orthopedic Surgeons also treat injuries and disorders with other types of medical care and physical therapy in addition to surgery.
Here is a list of the most common ailments and injuries requiring orthopedic care:
- Dislocations in areas such as the knees, ankles and shoulders
- Diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis
- Pulled and/or sprained muscles and tendons
- Sprains and Strains to joints such as ankles and wrists
- Back injuries such as ruptured discs, scoliosis and recurrent pain
- Injuries to knees and feet
- Hand injuries and hand defects
- Carpel Tunnel
Here is a list of some of the most common orthopedic procedures performed:
- Knee replacement
- Knee ACL surgery
- Knee meniscectomy surgery
- Shoulder arthroscopy
- Carpal Tunnel Release
- Surgical repair of fractures using plates and screws
- Hip replacement
- Rotator Cuff repair surgery
- Spinal fusions
While Orthopedic Surgeons are qualified to treat any of the conditions listed above, many specialize in a particular areas such as the ones below:
- Sports Medicine which specializes in injuries occurring frequently in sports such as torn ligaments and tears that occur in the shoulders, wrists and knees
- Spine doctors who treat injuries and disorders of the spine including the neck and back
- Hand and wrist specialists who treat fractures in these areas as well as Carpal Tunnel
- Hip specialist who specialize in hip replacement
- Foot and Ankle specialists who specialize in treating injuries and disorders of the feet
If you are looking for an Orthopedic Surgeon on OrthoDoctors.com, you will notice that many of the Orthopedic Doctors’ profiles have icons or badges identifying the specialty areas in which that doctor practices. So when searching for an Orthopedic Surgeon, you should try to choose a doctor that specializes in the specific treatment for which you are searching.
Orthopedic Doctors also work very closely with other physicians and medical personnel in the treatment of injuries. For instance, physical therapy is used for the treatment of many joint, muscle and bone injuries. Some Orthopedic Doctors have physical therapists at their practice. But many others use physical therapists from medical clinics that specialize in nothing but physical therapy. In these cases, the Orthopedists diagnosis the injury and/or disorder and then prescribe and oversee the appropriate physical therapy needed for treatment.
If you need help choosing an Orthopedic Surgeon, read our article How to Choose an Orthopedic Surgeon.