Orthopedics is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. This system includes the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. Orthopedic surgeons are trained to treat a wide range of conditions, from simple sprains and fractures to complex joint replacements.
What is orthopedics?
Orthopedics is a broad field that encompasses many different subspecialties. Some of the most common orthopedic subspecialties include:
- Sports medicine: Sports medicine orthopedists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of sports injuries.
- Joint replacement surgery: Joint replacement orthopedists specialize in the surgical replacement of damaged or diseased joints.
- Pediatric orthopedics: Pediatric orthopedists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders in children.
- Spinal surgery: Spinal orthopedists specialize in the surgical treatment of spinal disorders.
- Hand surgery: Hand orthopedists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the hand and wrist.
Common orthopedic conditions
Some of the most common orthopedic conditions include:
- Arthritis: Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints.
- Back pain: Back pain is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of factors, such as muscle strain, ligament sprain, and disc herniation.
- Bone fractures: Bone fractures are breaks in the bones. They can be caused by trauma, such as a fall or car accident, or by osteoporosis, a condition that weakens the bones.
- Bursitis: Bursitis is inflammation of the bursae, which are fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones, tendons, and muscles.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome: Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and fingers. It is caused by compression of the median nerve as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist.
- Rotator cuff tear: A rotator cuff tear is a tear in the rotator cuff, which is a group of four muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint.
- Tennis elbow: Tennis elbow is a condition that causes pain on the outside of the elbow. It is caused by inflammation of the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the elbow.
There are a variety of orthopedic treatments available, depending on the condition being treated. Some common orthopedic treatments include:
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help to improve range of motion, strengthen muscles, and reduce pain.
- Medication: Medication can be used to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Injections: Injections of medications, such as corticosteroids, can be used to reduce pain and inflammation in specific areas.
- Surgery: Surgery is sometimes necessary to repair damaged or diseased tissues.
How to choose an orthopedic surgeon
When choosing an orthopedic surgeon, it is important to consider the following factors:
- Board certification: Make sure that the surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.
- Experience: Choose a surgeon who has experience treating the specific condition that you have.
- Reputation: Ask your friends, family, and doctor for recommendations.
- Comfort level: It is important to feel comfortable with the surgeon and to trust their judgment.
Orthopedics is a branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic surgeons are trained to treat a wide range of conditions, from simple sprains and fractures to complex joint replacements.
If you are experiencing pain or other problems with your bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, or nerves, you should see an orthopedic surgeon for diagnosis and treatment.