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What is General Orthopedics?

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Our musculoskeletal system is a complex system comprising of bone, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and skin. General orthopedics is the field of medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system and a variety of orthopedic conditions. Physicians who work in this field of medicine are referred to as orthopedists or orthopedic doctors. These are medical experts who have undergone extensive training in the field of General Orthopedics and can offer their expertise in the treatment and management of various orthopedic disorders and provide effective orthopedic guidance and education regarding the prevention of orthopedic injuries and diseases.

Role of an Orthopedic Doctor

A general orthopedist’s role is to evaluate, diagnose, treat, and manage individuals who suffer from degenerative orthopedic diseases, skeletal deformities, or various injuries pertaining to the musculoskeletal system. General orthopedists also work with individuals who have fractures or require surgery. Whether the problem is in the hip, knee, spine, or any joint, a general orthopedist can provide orthopedic care that is customized to the anatomy and goals of each patient. The main objective of an orthopedist is to restore mobility, function, and quality of life to every patient.

Scope of General Orthopedics

General orthopedics is a medical specialty with immense potential and is the foundation of all advanced and specialized training in different areas of Orthopedics. General orthopedic doctors can offer care and treat a wide variety of orthopedic diseases and conditions, such as:

  • Dislocations and fractures
  • Sprains and strains
  • Torn ligaments, pulled muscles, and tendon injuries
  • Bursitis, arthritis, tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, and osteoporosis
  • Low back pain, sciatica, ruptured discs, and scoliosis
  • Hammertoes, bunions, bow legs and knock knees
  • Leg length discrepancy and club foot
  • Growth abnormalities and abnormalities of the fingers and toes

When Should You Visit a General Orthopedist?

Orthopedic conditions can trigger a variety of symptoms. You should consult your orthopedic doctor if you are experiencing:

  • Chronic pain
  • Joint instability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Difficulty walking
  • Swelling in the affected joint
  • Sharp, stabbing pain
  • Inability to bear weight on the affected joint
  • Limited range of motion of the hip, knee, ankle, or another joint
  • Radiating pain from one section of the body to another
  • Worsening pain that does not get better


General orthopedics is a medical specialty that emphasizes the treatment of injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. Some of these conditions may be present at birth or may occur as a result of orthopedic trauma or age-related wear and tear. Orthopedists most commonly works and coordinate with a wider orthopedic team that may involve nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical or occupational therapists, and athletic trainers. Collectively, they help diagnose, treat, and rehabilitate individuals with musculoskeletal injuries or conditions to provide comprehensive orthopedic care.

Workplace Injuries

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Injuries at the workplace range from minor cuts or bruises which are non-fatal to injuries such as severe fractures or trauma that can be fatal. Injuries can occur due to slips, repetitive motion, hazards from machinery, falling from a height, burns, or any kind of violent act. Workplace injuries also include diseases which spread through microorganisms.


Picture of Tendonitis

Tendonitis refers to the inflammation of a tendon, which is a band of fibrous connective tissue that attaches a muscle to a bone. Tendonitis can result from repetitive or overuse injuries and can occur during activities such as gardening, carpentry, shoveling, painting, scrubbing, tennis, golfing, skiing, and pitching.

Tendon Injuries

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Tendons are powerful fibrous cords which connect muscle to bone. When you overstretch a tendon, it can rupture (tear) completely or partially. This rupturing of the tendon due to overstretching is known as a tendon injury. You typically feel a snap or popping sensation when you rupture your tendon followed by a sharp pain which is likely to affect your mobility and muscle function. Surgery is often regarded as the best treatment.


Picture of Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis also called degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs most often in older people. This disease affects the tissue covering the ends of bones in a joint (cartilage).In a person with osteoarthritis, the cartilage becomes damaged and worn out causing pain, swelling, stiffness and restricted movement in the affected joint.

Overuse Injuries

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Overuse injuries are defined as damage to muscles, ligaments, tendons, or bones as a result of repetitive stress over time. Overuse injuries are often sports-related, and seen in tennis, swimming, soccer, and other activities that involve repetitive motions. The areas most commonly affected by overuse injuries are the knees, shoulders, elbows, and heels.

Sprains and Strains

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Sprains and strains are injuries affecting the muscles and ligaments. A sprain is an injury or tear of one or more ligaments that commonly occurs at the wrist, knee, ankle or thumb. A strain is an injury or tears to the muscle. Strains occur commonly in the back and legs. Sprains and strains occur due to overstretching of the joints during sports activities and accidents such as falls or collisions.

Sports Medicine

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Sports Medicine, also known as sports and exercise medicine (SEM), is a branch of medicine that deals with the treatment and prevention of sports and exercise-related injuries and improving fitness and performance. The main objective of sports medicine is to help individuals engage in sports and exercise in a safe and effective manner to accomplish their training goals.

Fracture Care

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A bone fracture is a medical condition in which a bone is cracked or broken. It is a break in the continuity of the bone. While many fractures are the result of high-force impact or stress, bone fractures can also occur because of certain medical conditions that weaken the bones, such as osteoporosis.

Osteoarthritis Management

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Osteoarthritis also called degenerative joint disease, is the most common form of arthritis. It occurs most often in older people. This disease affects the tissue covering the ends of bones in a joint (cartilage). Osteoarthritis is characterized by damaged articular cartilage, cartilage lining the hip joint.

Sports Injuries

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Sports injuries are injuries sustained by athletes or active individuals while playing indoor or outdoor sports such as football, basketball, baseball, hockey, tennis, or while exercising. Sports injuries may result from accidents, poor training practices, use of improper protective gear, lack of conditioning, and insufficient warm-up and stretching.

Joint Preservation Surgery

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Joint preservation surgery is an orthopedic procedure performed to repair and preserve a deteriorating joint causing pain. A joint is a point in our body where two or more bones meet and connect through a fibrous tissue called cartilage. Major joints of the body include the hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, and ankles.

Arthroscopic Surgery

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Arthroscopic surgery, also known as arthroscopy, is a surgical procedure to visualize, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint using a specialized instrument known as an arthroscope. An arthroscope is a flexible fiberoptic tube that contains a small lens or camera and a lighting system to magnify and illuminate structures inside a joint.

Joint Implant Surgery

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Joint implant surgery is a procedure in which a severely arthritic or damaged joint is surgically replaced with metal, ceramic, or plastic components. Knee and hip joint replacements are commonly performed joint implant surgeries; however, the surgery can be performed on other joints such as the elbow and ankle as well.

Ligament Reconstruction

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Ligament reconstruction is surgery to reconstruct a torn ligament using a graft or artificial prosthesis. Ligaments are tough, non-stretchable fibers that hold your bones together. Ligament reconstruction is performed to improve joint function and stability and may be indicated for shoulder, elbow and knee injuries.

Joint Reconstruction Surgery

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Joint reconstruction surgery includes various surgical procedures to reconstruct and repair the joints damaged due to arthritis or trauma. A joint is an area where two or more bones meet. Most joints permit a gliding movement of the bones against each other to enable different kinds of movement.

Fracture Surgery

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Fracture surgery is a procedure to fix broken (fractured) bones and to hold them in place using advanced equipment. Though fractures can heal without surgery, in certain situations surgery is necessary for proper alignment and healing. You should not eat or drink 6 hours before the surgery. You may receive antibiotics prior to surgery.

Fracture Repair

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Fracture repair is a procedure performed to heal broken (fractured) bones using conservative or surgical treatment methods. This procedure mainly focuses on the reduction of the fracture and holding the fractured ends of the bone in the proper position during the healing process to ensure normal function after the fracture heals.

Cartilage Restoration

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Articular or hyaline cartilage is a smooth tissue that covers the bone surfaces in a joint helping in smooth bony interactions during movements of the joint. This tissue has a reduced capacity to repair itself because it has no direct blood supply. Cartilage restoration is a procedure performed to replace the worn-out cartilage with new cartilage.

Useful Links

  • Picture of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
  • Picture of American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
  • Picture of The Arthroscopy Association of North America
  • Picture of Mayo Clinic
  • Picture of OrthoCarolina

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