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What is an orthopedic doctor? What do they do?


An orthopedic doctor has extensively studied the musculoskeletal system, including bones, ligaments, joints, tendons, muscles, and problems associated with them essential for movement in daily life. They operate the joints and other areas for reducing inflammation and prevent further infection. Orthopedic doctors help you with your musculoskeletal issues. They perform:

  • Diagnoses of musculoskeletal problems
  • Treatment of affected musculoskeletal system

They provide precautionary measures for preventing injury or worsening chronic conditions such as arthritis. Other areas of specialization include the spine, hip and knee, hand, shoulder, elbow, sports medicine, and trauma surgery.

They treat a wide range of conditions, including bone fractures, muscle strains, carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, bone cancer, limb abnormalities.

Physical therapists work with elderly patients for maintaining the balance that saves them from falling. This also helps with their mobility, strength, restoring pelvic function.

The best orthopedic treatment in India

There are two types of orthopedic treatments – surgical and non-surgical. The surgical treatments include:

Joint replacement: The surgery replaces the damaged and deteriorated joints, restoring the joints.

Internal fixing option: Placing hardware pins, screws, plates, and rods to the broken bones in the place for healing.

Fusion: Fixing connection between the bones using bone graft material. Once the bone tissue heals, the tissues fuse into the bone. This type of technique is used in neck and spine surgery.

Osteotomy: This is a kind of procedure that involves the incision of a bone portion for repositioning. This is done in rare cases used to treat arthritis.

Soft tissue repair: This is used for repairing aggravating muscle, bone, tendons, or ligaments.

Release surgery: A surgery performed for carpal tunnel syndrome relieving symptoms by minimizing pressure on the median nerve.

Rehabilitation of acute injury

  • Rehabilitation after acute injury is to manage pain and swelling
  • Managing with the doctor’s recommendation on weight-bearing
  • Restoration of your range of motion
  • Strengthening your bones and musculoskeletal system
  • Follow certain guidelines to prevent flare-ups

Rehabilitation after surgery for conditions such as

  • Hip replacement
  • Knee replacement and arthroscopy
  • Rotator cuff repair

Non-surgical procedures:

Exercises: Your orthopedic physician will suggest some exercises such as stretching to maintain and improve the strength, flexibility, and range of motion in a specific area.

Immobilization: The techniques for immobilizing are splint, casts, and braces. This prevents from adding additional strain to the area enabling it to heal.

Medications: Your physician suggests you some medications for swelling and pain. Prescription medicines include corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory medicines.

Lifestyle modification: Your orthopedic doctor will recommend lifestyle modifications that include physical activity, diet, and exercises to prevent the condition from progressing further.

An orthopedic doctor must have the following qualifications and training

  • An undergraduate program at a university or college for 4+ years.
  • A residency emphasizing orthopedics (5 years
  • A fellowship for specialization in one of the areas as mentioned above for 1+ years.
  • For confirming their proficiency or expertise in the specialized area, the orthopaedic doctor must clear the certifying examination. Once they have cleared the certified exam, they can renew the certificate every ten years.

The best orthopedic treatment in India is available in corporate hospitals with top-notch facilities and post-operative care with good hygienic standards conducive for the patient.

Tips for finding an orthopedic doctor

  • If you want to visit an orthopedic doctor in your area, you can find them by research.
  • Ask a family member or a friend who has benefitted from their treatment.
  • Reading online reviews or social media enables access to the orthopedic surgeon’s training and qualification.

When to visit an orthopedic doctor:

  • If you are experiencing pain and swelling in bone, muscles, or tendons that are not responsive to home care.
  • A reduced range of motion and mobility in knee, elbows, and shoulders
  • Difficulty performing daily activities
  • Numbness or tingling in limbs
  • Injured bone or joint

An orthopedic doctor analyses and assesses your movement to detect injured areas. This helps in managing the pain, symptoms, further educating and creating awareness on avoiding injuries in the future. Physical therapies include active modalities and passive modalities such as cryotherapy and thermotherapy. Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation is used in severe cases of bone restoration.

Also Read: How to Treat a Sprained Knee

A team of medical professionals such as orthopedic doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists works in alignment for the best results depending on the condition. They address the specific needs of the patients with a customized approach and help them deal with their problems. Treatment may also include alternative therapies such as cold compressors and hot compressors to relieve the muscular pain.

Being a doctor is a job that requires extensive education and training. It's not just about reading and taking exams. In order to become an orthopedic doctor, you need to learn how to use an instrument, use your body weight and apply different kinds of physical therapy techniques. This is what makes orthopedic doctors unique — they spend a lot of time and effort getting ready for their careers. They truly love what they do and are committed to making the world a better place through medicine.
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