What Exactly is Orthopedics?

Hand pointing on screen with X-rays of the spine.

Orthopedics is a specialty branch of medicine pertaining to conditions and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Everyone is born with many muscles, bones and connective tissues that work together to form the support structure of the body. Orthopedists work to ensure these components remain strong and healthy, and the patients are free of pain and discomfort. The overall goal of orthopedics is to extend highly effective care and results using the conservative and minimally invasive treatments available.

Did you know?

An orthopedist treats patients of all ages, from birth to old age. Children are often born with physical deformities that require ongoing orthopedic care. Some people visit orthopedists after suffering a traumatic injury – perhaps in a car accident or while playing sports. Still, some patients do not require orthopedic care until much later in life, when arthritis often appears. Regardless of the reason for seeing an orthopedist or age, there are treatments available that can restore or repair the full function of the musculoskeletal system in many patients.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I need to see an orthopedist?

You may need to visit an orthopedist if you are suffering from any type of musculoskeletal disease or injury. Examples include osteoarthritis, torn ligaments, scoliosis, deformities, bone fractures, herniated discs, and compressed vertebrae. If you have not been diagnosed with any of these conditions but are suffering from joint pain, back pain, stiffness, limited mobility, or other musculoskeletal symptoms, schedule a consultation with an orthopedist to find out more about the cause of your discomfort.

What types of treatments are available from an orthopedist? Do all patients require orthopedic surgery?

It is true that orthopedics often perform surgery to restore a joint, repair severe fractures, or replace a damaged disc. But that doesn’t mean that all patients require surgical intervention. In fact, many patients are able to achieve less pain and fewer symptoms using far less invasive treatments, such as physical therapy, prescription medications, and joint injections. Talk with your orthopedist to find out which treatments could be right for you.

How long will it take for me to recover from an orthopedic surgery?

If you require orthopedic surgery, the thought of undergoing an operation may be intimidating. However, you can trust that many common orthopedic operations – such as knee and hip replacement – boast some of the highest success rates in modern medicine. Furthermore, today’s minimally invasive methods often mean a shorter recovery time overall. Speak with your orthopedic surgeon about any questions you have regarding the recovery period after your operation.

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