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Chances are you’ve heard of orthopedic doctors, but what exactly is an orthopedic doctor? What do orthopedic doctors do, who do they see, and what do they treat? We’ll cover all of that in this blog so by the time you’re done reading you will be knowledgeable and confident about the world of orthopedic doctors and when you might benefit from seeing one.

What is Orthopedics?

Orthopedics refers to a field of medicine that concentrates on underlying conditions and diseases that interfere with the musculoskeletal system. This includes parts of the body such as:

  • Muscles
  • Bones
  • Ligaments
  • Joints
  • Tendons
  • Central nervous system function

When to see an Orthopedic Doctor?

It is most common to schedule an orthopedic doctor visit if you are experiencing discomfort or pain in one of the above-mentioned areas. Another common reason for bringing people to orthopedic doctors is chronic pain due to underlying conditions. One example of an underlying condition that could cause pain is arthritis. Arthritis in the wrist, for example, can be treated by an orthopedic doctor.

What does an Orthopedic Doctor do?

There are a variety of treatments an orthopedic doctor can perform, including but not limited to:

  • Assessing, diagnosing, and treating injuries caused by physical activity
  • Treatment and management of chronic conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis
  • Assessment and treatment for rehabilitation in order to promote natural movement, strength, and range of motion
  • Treatment of overuse injuries

Orthopedic doctors specialize in a multitude of areas on the body that can range from any of the following:

Since orthopedic doctors deal with all the encompassing parts of the musculoskeletal system, this means they can help with a lot of different injuries and conditions. Some of those include:

  • Broken bones
  • Pain and discomfort
  • ACL tears
  • Muscle strains and sprains
  • And even bone cancer

Procedures and more

When necessary, orthopedic surgeons can perform surgery as a form of treatment. Here are a few of the ways an orthopedic surgeon can help by performing an operation.

  • Bone Fusion: helps the bone tissue to heal.
  • Soft Tissue Repair: for damaged muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
  • Joint Replacement: an option for when “bones become damaged or diseased,” according to Health Line.
  • Osteotomy: used to cut and reposition part of the bone.
  • Internal Fixation: use of pins and screws to hold broken bones in order for them to heal properly.
  • More


These are some of the primary things orthopedic doctors do on a daily basis, but the scope of their work is extensive. Some orthopedic doctors even “specialize in treating children. Pediatric orthopedists monitor bone growth problems in children—like scoliosis—or developmental problems that children are born with, like clubfoot or hip dysplasia,” says The University of Utah.

If you are thinking about seeing an orthopedic doctor, please reach out to us at Great Lakes Orthopedics to see how we can help.

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