Orthopaedics is the medical specialty that focuses on injuries and diseases of your body’s musculoskeletal system. This system includes your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. Orthopaedic surgeons have studied all aspects of the musculoskeletal system, however, many orthopaedists specialize in certain areas, such as the foot and ankle, spine, hip or knee. They may also choose to focus on specific fields like pediatrics, trauma or sports medicine.
Orthopaedic surgeons address special problems of the musculoskeletal system.
- Diagnosis of your injury or disorder
- Treatment with medication, exercise, surgery or other treatment plans
- Rehabilitation by recommending exercises or physical therapy
Orthopaedic surgeons are medical doctors that have extensive training in the proper diagnosis and treatment of injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Your Orthopaedic surgeon completed up to 14 years of formal education.
- Four years of study in a college or university
- Four years of study in medical school
- Five years of study in Orthopaedic residency at a major medical center
- One optional year of specialized education
- Pass both oral and written examinations given by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.
Orthopaedic surgeons can treat musculoskeletal conditions without surgery, by using medication, exercise and other rehabilitative or alternative therapies. For most Orthopaedic diseases and injuries there are multiple forms of treatment. If necessary, surgery may be best path for recovery. Orthopaedic surgeons perform different types of surgeries.
Common procedures include:
- Arthroscopy – a procedure using special cameras and equipment to visualize, diagnose and treat problems inside a joint.
- Fusion – a “welding” process by which bones are fused together with bone grafts and internal devices (such as metal rods) to heal into a single solid bone.
- Internal Fixation – a method to hold the broken pieces of bone in proper position with metal plates, pins or screws while the bone is healing.
- Joint Replacement (partial, total and revision) — when an arthritic or damaged joint is removed and replaced with an artificial joint called prosthesis.
- Osteotomy – the correction of bone deformity by cutting and repositioning the bone.
- Soft tissue repair – the mending of soft tissue, such as torn tendons or ligaments.
Shoulder and Elbow
Hand and Wrist
Hip and Thigh
Knee and Lower Leg
Foot and Ankle
Neck and Back
By definition, Arthritis is a form of joint disorder that involves inflammation in one or more joints. There are over 100 different forms of arthritis. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease), a result of trauma to the joint, infection of the joint, or age. Other arthritis forms are rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, and related autoimmune diseases. Septic arthritis is caused by joint infection.
The major complaint by individuals who have arthritis is joint pain. Pain is often constant, and may be localized to the joint affected. The pain from arthritis is from inflammation around the joint, damage to the joint from disease, daily wear and tear of the joint, muscle strains caused by forceful movements against stiff and painful joints, and from fatigue.
Sometimes called degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic condition of the joints, affecting approximately 27 million Americans. OA can affect any joint, but it occurs most often in knees, hips, lower back and neck, small joints of the fingers and the bases of the thumb and big toe.
In normal joints, cartilage covers the end of each bone. Cartilage provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint motion and acts as a cushion between the bones. In OA, the cartilage breaks down, causing pain, swelling and problems moving the joint. As OA progresses over time, bones may break down and develop growths called spurs. Bits of bone or cartilage may chip off and float around in the joint. In the body, an inflammatory process occurs and cytokines (proteins) and enzymes develop that further damage the cartilage. In the final stages of OA, the cartilage wears away and bone rubs against bone leading to joint damage and more pain.
OA occurs in people of all ages; it is most common in people older than 65. Common risk factors include increasing age, obesity, previous joint injury, overuse of the joint, weak thigh muscles, and genes. Current statistics indicate one in two adults will develop symptoms associated with knee OA. One in four adults will develop symptoms of hip OA by age 85. One in twelve adults by age 60 will develop hand OA.
Symptoms associated with osteoarthritis may vary depending on which joints are affected and how severely they are affected. The most common symptoms are pain and stiffness, particularly first thing in the morning or after resting and swelling after activity. OA pain, swelling or stiffness may make it difficult to perform ordinary tasks at work or at home. Simple daily tasks can become nearly impossible. When the lower body joints are affected, activities such as walking, climbing stairs and lifting objects may become difficult. When finger and hand joints are affected, osteoarthritis can make it difficult to grasp and hold objects.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic/potentially disabling disease. There is no cure, but treatment options are available. Treatment options are the following:
Related to Bone and Joint
* All information, content, and material of this website is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.