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What Is an Orthopedist

Commonly known as an orthopedic doctor, an orthopedist concentrates on various conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. As an orthopedist, their main goals are to assist in the diagnosing of musculoskeletal conditions and treating them accordingly, aiding with patient rehabilitation, and developing plans to fend off any further injury.

Although an orthopedist makes the entire musculoskeletal system their specialty, many decide to venture into areas that are more specialized such as the following:

  • Hand
  • Sports Medicine
  • Spine
  • Ankle and foot
  • Elbow and shoulder
  • Knees and hips
  • Trauma

Conditions that an Orthopedist Treats

An orthopedist tends to many different disorders involving the muscles and bones. A few of these involve:

  • Arthritis
  • Muscle sprains and strains
  • Fractures
  • Pain in the back or joints
  • Tendonitis
  • ACL ruptures and tears

Procedures an Orthopedist can Perform

An orthopedist is able to suggest the best course to take for the treatment of many conditions. Often times an orthopedist will be involved with treatments involving surgery. This will mainly be due to a condition not becoming better with traditional treatments. Below are a few instances where the need for surgery may be warranted.

Bone fusions – The orthopedist will apply a bone graft along with a fixation method that will fuse two bones. As healing occurs, the two bones eventually become fused into one. Often times, a fusion will be conducted within surgery involving the spine or neck.

Carpal tunnel surgery – Also known as release surgery, this relieves the symptoms by releasing median nerve pressure.

Repair of soft tissues – When tears or ruptures occur among muscles, ligaments, or tendons, then surgery will be used to make necessary repair.

Fixation procedures – This will involve the insertion of rods, screws, pins, or plates that will keep bones stable throughout the healing process.

Osteotomy – This surgical procedure calls for changing a bones position. This is performed often for arthritic joints.

Hip or knee replacements – Hip replacement is a common surgical procedure that is commonly seem among the elderly population. The amount that is replaced will depend on the amount of damage involved with the hip or knee.

How Soon Should an Orthopedist Be Consulted

An orthopedist should be consulted as soon as any of the following symptoms occur:

  • Any tingling, numbness or a sharp sensation like being stuck with needles in the extremities
  • Trauma to a joint or bone
  • Decreased joint range of motion in a knee, shoulder, or elbow.
  • Increased difficulty with normal activities
  • Pain associated with muscles, bones, or joints that occurs continuously and is not relieved by home remedies.


By being an important member of the healthcare team, the orthopedist is able to make a big difference in the care and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries. If you have any condition which you feel warrants a visit to an orthopedist, get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation.

Posted in: Blog, Orthopedics