An orthopedic doctor treats people for problems in their joints, nerves, and bones, otherwise called the musculoskeletal system. The prefix “ortho” means “straight”. The “pedic” part of the title hearkens back to the original purpose of study in this field: helping children who had been crippled or who had debilitating disease. Since pediatrics is the medical term for treatment of children, people often assume that orthopedics is limited to treatment of children. This, however, is no longer the case.
Who Gets Treatment?
Orthopedic doctors now treat people of all ages. In today’s medical community, most orthopedists specialize, although there are still some who generalize. Most of the time, a doctor will refer his patient to a specialist for severe health concerns.
Do You Need An Orthopedist?
Most of the time, your primary care physician will refer you if you need an orthopedic doctor. This may happen with arthritis and other chronic pain that centers itself in a joint, bone, tendon, or nerve. In most cases of chronic pain of this sort, treatment with a specialist will be preferable and yield quicker results.
Another situation in which you will need an orthopedic doctor is in the case of trauma. In these cases, such as with a sports injury or due to accident, immediate intervention on the part of an orthopedist is a better choice.
Variety of Treatments
Orthopedists treat an amazing variety of conditions, encompassing the human body literally from head to toe. In addition, orthopedic doctors have a wide variety of treatments available to deal with the myriad problems that can assault the human musculoskeletal system.
These methods, called modalities, include the use of braces and supports, applying of a cast, the use of medication, and the use of rehabilitation and therapy. Orthopedists will also use injections when necessary. Often, traditional and arthroscopic surgery are necessary to deal with trauma and serious medical complications.
Platelet Rich Plasma
Platelet Rich Plasma, or PRP, is also used in orthopedics today. Present in the operating room for decades, PRP therapy uses the patient’s own plasma to speed healing. In the orthopedic setting, this is usually done as an outpatient treatment, and is quite helpful in treating various forms of tendonitis.
Variety of Health Problems
Orthopedic doctors and surgeons will perform joint replacement surgeries for the shoulder, knee, hip, wrist, and other joints. They will also prescribe occupational and physical therapy, and help the patient with pain management.
Arthritis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatology are also treated by orthopedists. They also will perform any surgeries to joints, and to the spine, feet, hands, and ankles.
Trouble with tendons and ligaments are also in the realm of the orthopedic doctor. He will treat tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, and many other conditions.
Any injury you have due to repetitive injury will usually lead you to the orthopedic doctor. They specialize in helping people whose musculoskeletal function is inhibited in some way.