Orthopaedic Surgeon Defined

What is an orthopaedic surgeon, anyway?

An orthopaedic surgeon is a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy with extensive training in keeping your bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons, cartilage and spine in good working order. Together, all of these parts of our bodies make up our musculoskeletal system.

Orthopaedic surgeons have the greatest knowledge of and experience with the wide range of conditions and treatment options available in musculoskeletal care, many of which do not require surgery. However, if surgery is the best recommendation for recovery, the orthopaedic surgeon is the best-trained individual to provide that surgical treatment.

Including college (four years), medical school (four years), orthopaedic internship and residency (five years), optional fellowship (one year), and initial practice (two years), it typically takes 16 years or more of formal education and training to become an orthopaedic surgeon. Beyond that, special certification and lifelong learning is essential, as orthopaedics is a field that is continually growing and evolving.

Orthopaedic surgeons use the most effective and efficient diagnostic tools and our experience in musculoskeletal treatment to determine the best course of treatment for our patients. Treatment may include medication, physical therapy, exercise, brace and/or surgery. They also emphasize prevention.

Some of the most common orthopaedic injuries that orthopaedic surgeons treat include ankle sprain, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, ACL injury, meniscus tear, shoulder dislocation, rotator cuff tear, stress fractures, carpal tunnel syndrome, and distal radius fracture (also known as a wrist fracture).

Stay tuned for more blog posts describing these injuries, including prevention tips and treatment options!