The musculoskeletal system contains all the bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and connective tissues in the human body. Musculoskeletal conditions and injuries are more common than you’d think. They can happen to anyone regardless of age, occupation, or activity, resulting in varying degrees of pain and disability.
Orthopedists, or orthopedic surgeons, train and study to diagnose, treat, and prevent musculoskeletal conditions and injuries. You should consider seeing an orthopedist if you or a loved one has an orthopedic concern.
What Does an Orthopedist Do?
An orthopedist provides relief from a variety of conditions and injuries concerning the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedists may choose to specialize in a chosen subfield, such as the hand and wrist, spine, or hip and knee. Some continue in the field as generalists and opt to treat a variety of orthopedic conditions instead of focusing on specific body areas.
Orthopedists have many years of medical training. After eight years of undergraduate and medical school, they undergo an orthopedic residency lasting five years to help them learn in a hands-on setting. Some orthopedists may choose to complete a fellowship if they want to specialize in a specific subfield. Orthopedists can receive board certification after completing their medical training by passing an exam through a certifying organization, such as the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery or a similar organization.
Orthopedists can diagnose an orthopedic issue by conducting medical examinations and relying on data from imaging studies, when needed. After completing their diagnosis and explaining it to the patient, they will prescribe and recommend various treatment options for the condition or injury, including medication and rehabilitation.
Treatments range from physical therapy, rest, and other non-surgical methods to surgery. Orthopedists recommend surgery based on the severity of the patient’s issue. However, they will typically treat the patient in the least intrusive way possible first.
Some of the conditions an orthopedist can treat are:
- Arthritis – inflammation or degeneration of a joint
- Hip fracture– a break in the upper part of thigh bone due to injury, repeated movement, or an effect of osteoporosis
- ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tear – injury common in athletes and located in the center of the knee, usually caused by repeated movement or sudden injury
- Plantar fasciitis – inflammation of connective tissue found in the foot due to excessive pressure or overstretching
- Rotator cuff tear – occurs when the tendons in the shoulder tear from overuse or injury
- Sciatica – nerve pain from irritation, inflammation, or injury to the nerve located in the lower back
When Should I See an Orthopedist?
You should see an orthopedist if you have symptoms affecting your musculoskeletal system. Symptoms that could indicate the need for an orthopedist include:
- Stiffness and numbness in the joints
- Restricted movement
- Grinding, popping, or snapping sensation when moving
Factors that increase the likelihood of a musculoskeletal condition are:
- Family history
- Lifestyle choices
- Recent injuries
An injury or condition is not necessary to see an orthopedic surgeon. Many opt to make an appointment to find relief from chronic pain and loss of mobility. Athletes and active individuals see orthopedic doctors to nip minor issues in the bud before they become serious – and to seek advice on how to play their sport and exercise safely and effectively.
Orthopedic Care in Catonsville, MD
Musculoskeletal conditions and injuries can happen to anyone at any time. When the worst happens, it’s helpful to have access to an orthopedist you can trust. In Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland, our team of board-certified orthopedic surgeons is trained in up-to-date medical treatments and provide quality and affordable healthcare. Our state-of-the-art clinics are accessible and open to serve patients all over Maryland.
For more details on our orthopedists and their specializations, call us today at (410) 644-1880 or toll-free at (855) 4MD-BONE. You can also use our online form to book an appointment online. We look forward to serving you!