There are several reasons why you might take yourself or a loved one to see a doctor. Depending on your ailment, you may need a referral to a specialist. Knowing which specialist to see and what procedures they perform can make a significant difference when it comes to treatment.
An orthopedist is a common type of doctor you may need to see based on your symptoms. What does an orthopedist or orthopedic doctor do, and when would you need to see one?
What Is an Orthopedic Doctor?
Orthopedic doctors are devoted to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the muscles, joints, ligaments, bones and tendons. Orthopedists treat various conditions such as dislocations, fractures, bunions, osteoporosis, back injuries and more.
Because surgery is so integral to the role of an orthopedist, the terms “orthopedic surgeon,” “orthopedic doctor” and “orthopedist” are often used interchangeably.
What Does an Orthopedist Treat?
Orthopedic doctors treat and diagnose many types of pain all over the body, including:
- Neck, back, foot, ankle, hip or knee pain
- Orthopedic trauma and fractures
- Carpal tunnel, shoulder pathologies and hand or finger injuries
- Sports medicine injuries
- Injuries to the muscles, spine, facets, discs and nerves
- Arthritis and osteoarthritis
- Bone tumors
- Plantar fasciitis, bunions and other ankle and foot injuries
- Elbow, shoulder, wrist or hand pain
- Injuries to tendons, muscles and ligaments
What Does an Orthopedic Doctor Do?
Until the 1890s, orthopedics was a study limited to the treatment of deformities on children using manipulation, splinting and exercise. The profession expanded to include surgery in the early 1900s due to developments with bone fixation, casting and more.
Orthopedists perform procedures such as:
- Joint replacement: A joint is removed and is replaced by an artificial joint.
- Osteotomy: The process of cutting and repositioning bone to correct a bone deformity.
- Internal fixation: A procedure that makes use of screws, plates or pins to hold broken pieces of bone together.
- Arthroscopy:A process that visualizes inside the joint using a camera.
- Soft tissue repair: Repair of ligaments or tendons.
- Fusion: An operation in which bones are fused using rods.
Reasons to See an Orthopedic Doctor
You should consider seeing an orthopedic doctor if you are experiencing any type of pain in your hips, knees, feet, neck, shoulders, arms, or back. Symptoms that warrant a visit to an orthopedist include:
- Signs of infection, including inflammation, heat, fever or redness.
- Pain in tendons, joints or muscles that lasts more than a couple of days.
- Joint pain that intensifies during periods of rest.
- Joint deformity.
- Bruising or swelling around the location of an injury.
- Limited range of motion, such as an inability to straighten the back.
- Difficulty using your knees, hips, back, shoulder or ankles to perform daily functions like carrying grocery bags or walking up and down the stairs in your home.
Receive Orthopedic Treatment at OrthoBethesda
If you need to see an orthopedic doctor, OrthoBethesda is here to help. Our dedicated, highly qualified orthopedic surgeons are committed to providing each patient with the highest quality of care. Our physical therapists adopt a conservative treatment approach and use cutting-edge technologies in cases where surgical intervention is not needed to address your pain.