Definition & Overview

Orthopedics is a medical field that focuses primarily on the study, diagnosis, and treatment of musculoskeletal (muscles, spine, bones, and joints) problems. A specialist in this field is called orthopedist.

Many people believe that a visit to an orthopedist would only be required if they experienced a bone fracture. Some also believe that pain medications are sufficient to manage back, muscle, and joint pains. However, pain medications can only relieve the symptoms temporarily. Once the effects of the medications subside, it is likely that the pain will return.

Pain is often a symptom of an underlying condition, but the degree of pain may not necessarily be an indication of the severity of the condition. Without proper treatment, there is a risk of the condition progressing and causing more problems.

It is best to consult your family doctor (who can then refer you to a specialist) or an orthopedist directly if you believe that the pain you’re experiencing affects your muscles, spine, bones, or joints.

Who Should Undergo and Expected Results

An orthopedic consultation is recommended for people who experience the following symptoms:

  • Chronic muscles or joint pain
  • Deformed joints
  • Difficulty in standing up straight due to back pains
  • Bone injuries
  • Swelling around the joints or a bone injury

Following the consultation, you can expect to receive a diagnosis of your condition. You’ll also be informed about your treatment options.

How Does the Procedure Work?

An orthopedic consultation normally begins with a short interview. The following will be covered: symptoms you are experiencing, when you first noticed them, and if you are already taking any medications. Your medical history as well as your family’s will also be reviewed.

This is followed by a physical exam to check for any obvious signs of the problem, such as swelling, bruises, or infections. At this stage, you may already receive a preliminary or final diagnosis of the problem. In some cases, lab and imaging tests are performed to confirm the diagnosis.

You can expect the doctor to give you a detailed explanation of the diagnosis and the recommended treatment options. Treatment can include surgery. In fact, many shoulder, elbow, knees, and hips problems are treated using a surgical procedure called arthroscopy. Should you require surgery; the doctor will explain what the problem is and why the surgical procedure is recommended. You will also be informed of what to expect during the recovery period and how long it will likely take before you fully recover from the procedure.

Possible Risks & Complications

Orthopedic consultation, in itself is safe. However, every treatment method has possible risks and complications, especially if it involves surgery. It’s imperative that you fully understand the risks and possible complications of the recommended treatment method before it is initiated.


  • American Orthopaedic Association
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