Orthopedics is a medical specialty that deals with the musculoskeletal system, the system of the body that includes bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, skin, and any structures related to them. An orthopedist, also called an orthopedic surgeon, is a physician who specializes in treating disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
The orthopedist performs surgery for those conditions requiring it, but orthopedic practice involves much more than surgery. The orthopedist works with people of all ages helping to restore function lost because of disease injury, correcting birth abnormalities, and educating patients in the prevention of injury and disease.
Surgical care may include procedures such as fracture care, total joint replacement and knee arthroscopy.
Among the many musculoskeletal conditions that the orthopedist treats often are those caused by injuries from accidents that occur at home, at in athletic contests, or on the highway. Some of the most frequent of these are:
- Broken Bones
- Torn Ligaments
- Tendon Injuries
- Pulled Muscles
- Ruptured Discs & Sciatica
In addition to injuries, the orthopedic surgeon is also an expert in treating more chronic (long lasting) conditions, such as problems with the back, and feet. These include:
- Low back pain Scoliosis (curvature of the spine)
- Knock knees or bow legs
- Bunions and hammer toes
- Knee malfunction