What is Orthopedics and What Do they Treat?

by | Dec 3, 2012 | Health And Fitness

Orthopedics is the general study of the overall musculoskeletal system.  A doctor of orthopedics is one who focuses on the field diagnoses and treats problems within that system.  The musculoskeletal system includes a variety of items including nerves, tendons, muscles, ligaments, and joints.

The word orthopedics actually comes from the Greek language.  The “ortho” portion of the word means straight and the “pedics” portion means children.  For many years, these doctors have simply helped treat crippled children, but today, the field has expanded quite a bit.  Orthopedics now also treats a variety of other musculoskeletal issues in patients that are both young and old.

In order to become an orthopedic physician, a person has to go through about 14 years of training including medical school and residency programs.  Becoming such a doctor takes quite a bit of time, but it is a great specialty within the medical field with many rewards.  The first thing these doctors will have to do is understand the musculoskeletal system.  The term will appear again and again in their studies.

The musculoskeletal system is a general term that refers to the entire muscle and skeleton system within the body.  That means it includes not only muscles, but also bones and the joints that hold that two together.  Orthopedic doctors are sometimes confused with rheumatologists because they work in the same areas.  But rheumatologists treat things like arthritis and tendonitis with rest, medications, and physical therapy.  Orthopedic surgeons, on the other hand, treat some of the same items but they do so using surgery if the other treatments do not work.

One of the most common complaints that patients have when they see an orthopedic doctor is of arthritis.  Arthritis is the inflammation of one or more joints that causes the person quite a bit of pain.  The cartilage, or the smooth covering on the end of a bone, simply becomes worn and damaged with age of the joints become inflamed for a variety of reasons.  Arthritis can not only cause people quite a bit of pain, but it can even cause people to become severely disabled.  The problem is mainly seen in adults, but even some children have issues with it as well.

Since arthritis is a disease of the joint, it is often discussed with orthopedics.  There are two main causes of arthritis.  One is simply wear and tear through the aging process and the other is inflammation due to an injury or disease.  Either way, the pain, swelling and stiffness is something many people do not want to live with for long.  An orthopedics department first has to diagnose the issue and then it can be addressed.  There are a number of medications that can be prescribed and the doctor might also recommend physical therapy.  Surgery is reserved for those who get no relief from other treatments.

Westlake Orthopedics – The website Txortho.com features a Westlake, Texas company that has specialized in orthopedics for over 25 years including treatment of a variety of areas of the body.

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