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Orthopedics focuses on treating the conditions in your musculoskeletal system. This system includes your muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons. In other words, you move as much as it allows, and it should be healthy enough to move freely. Orthopedists use surgical and nonsurgical procedures to treat various issues, such as injuries or joint pain. Orthopedics aims to preserve and restore the function of your skeletal system and its associated structures. An orthopedist must undergo extensive training to get a medical license. Moreover, they must resume their education and training to maintain their practice. In this article, we want to give you an understanding of orthopedics and what to expect from treatment.
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What do orthopedists do?
They specialize in the science of your bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. Also, most of them work as a part of a larger treatment team. They usually work with athletic trainers, physical therapists, or practitioners. Moreover, an orthopedist can treat a wide variety of conditions. Such conditions may be present since birth, age-related, or due to an injury. The most common conditions are:
- Joint pain
- Bone fractures
- Soft tissue injury
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Shoulder conditions
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Overuse and sports injuries
- Congenital conditions, such as clubfoot
What can you expect?
During your first appointment, your doctor will work to diagnose your condition. Thus, they apply a physical examination and X-rays. Orthopedists sometimes use in-office procedures, such as injections, to diagnose or treat your problem. Also, you may need additional testing to confirm the diagnosis.
Diagnosis in orthopedics
To diagnose your condition, your doctor will:
- Ask about your symptoms
- Review your medical history
- Perform a physical examination
- Review X-rays
Moreover, additional tests may include:
- MRI scan
- CT scan
- Bone scan
- Blood tests
- Nerve conduction studies
- In-office procedures
Your doctor may apply such procedures to diagnose and treat certain conditions. For example, X-ray is the most common and available imaging method. Orthopedists usually use X-rays in-office because it allows them to diagnose certain conditions. Also, acute injuries such as bone fractures may require resetting your bone or joint and immobilizing it with a splint or a cast.
Treatments in orthopedics
If your condition is not treatable with an in-office procedure, your doctor will discuss your treatment options.
Chronic disorders such as back pain or arthritis may require the following treatments:
- Rehabilitation and physical therapy
- Exercise programs
- Mobility aids
- Surgery (last resort)
- Types of Orthopedic Practices
- Orthopedists may specialize in different branches. These branches include:
- Hand and upper extremities
- Foot and ankle
- Pediatric orthopedics
- Sports medicine
- Spine surgery
- Trauma surgery
- Joint replacement surgery
- Orthopedic Surgery
There are certain surgery types that your orthopedist may perform.
Total Joint Replacement
Your orthopedist replaces the damaged joint with a metal or plastic prosthesis. This procedure is one of the most common orthopedic surgeries in the world.
Bone Grafting Surgery
Surgeons use another bone in your body to repair and strengthen diseased or damaged bones. Also, they can source this bone from other people.
Fracture Repair Surgery
If your bone is broken severely, your orthopedist needs to apply surgery to stabilize the bone. Also, they can use different implants such as rods, plates, and wires.