Orthopedics is a medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis, care and treatment of patients with musculoskeletal disorders. The physicians who specialize in treating injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system are called orthopedic surgeons or orthopedists.
Although orthopedists may perform surgery to restore function lost as a result of injury or disease of bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, or skin, they are involved in all aspects of health care pertaining to the musculoskeletal system. They employ medical, physical and rehabilitative methods as well as surgical methods. Typically, as much as 50 percent of the orthopedist’s practice is devoted to non-surgical or medical management of injuries or disease and 50 percent to surgical management.
The orthopedist also works closely with other health care professionals and often serves as a consultant to other physicians. Orthopedists, in particular, play an important role in the organization and delivery of emergency care and work as a team player in the management of complex multi-system trauma.
The scope of orthopedics
Orthopedics is a specialty of immense breadth and variety. Orthopedists treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions, including such common injuries as fractures, torn ligaments, dislocations, sprains, tendon injuries, pulled muscles, and ruptured discs. They also treat conditions such as low back pain, sciatica, scoliosis, knock knees or bow legs. More recently great advances have occurred in the surgical management of degenerative joint disease with the replacement of the diseased joint by a prosthetic device (total joint replacement). Similarly, the application of visualizing instruments to assist in the diagnosis and surgical treatment of internal joint diseases (arthroscopy) has opened new horizons of therapy.
Orthopedists treat children with bone tumors and neuromuscular problems such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy, as well as to correct birth abnormalities such as hip dislocation and abnormalities of fingers and growth abnormalities such as unequal leg length. Orthopedists also treat diseases prevalent in the elderly, such as osteoporosis, as well as arthritis and bursitis.
Some orthopedists confine their practice to specific areas of the musculoskeletal system, such as the spine, hip, or hand, knee, sports medicine, or arthroscopy. However, 41 percent of orthopedic surgeons designate themselves as “general orthopedic surgeons”, 36 percent consider themselves as “general orthopedic surgeons with specialty interest”, while 23 percent consider themselves as “specialists within orthopedic surgery”. Many generalists may have a special interest in a specific area, but still treat most injuries or diseases of the musculoskeletal system.
The Treatment of Arthritis and Related Disorders
Our Orthopedist treat arthritis, certain autoimmune diseases, musculoskeletal pain disorders and osteoporosis. There are more than 100 types of these diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, lupus, back pain, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and tendonitis. Some of these are very serious diseases that can be difficult to diagnose and treat.
Arthritis of the Foot and Ankle/Care Provided by our Foot and Leg Surgeon/Podiatrist
Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States. It can occur at any age, and literally means “pain within a joint.” As a result, arthritis is a term used broadly to refer to a number of different conditions.
Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are many treatment options available. It is important to seek help early so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. With treatment, people with arthritis are able to manage pain, stay active, and live fulfilling lives, often without surgery.
Types of Arthritis that affect the feet and ankles
Osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative or “wear and tear” arthritis, is a common problem for many people after they reach middle age. Over the years, the smooth, gliding surface covering the ends of bones (cartilage) becomes worn and frayed. This results in inflammation, swelling, and pain in the joint.
Osteoarthritis progresses slowly and the pain and stiffness it causes worsens over time.
Unlike osteoarthritis which follows a predictable pattern in certain joints, rheumatoid arthritis is a system-wide disease. It is an inflammatory disease where the patient’s own immune system attacks and destroys cartilage.
Post-traumatic arthritis can develop after an injury to the foot or ankle. This type of arthritis is similar to osteoarthritis and may develop years after a fracture, severe sprain, or ligament injury.