If you’re experiencing symptoms of a condition or an injury affecting your bones, joints, or soft tissues (your musculoskeletal system) and your primary care physician determines that you need specialized care, they will give you a referral to see an orthopedic doctor.
Just like meeting with any other type of medical professional for the first time, it is natural to have some questions when anticipating your visit to your orthopedic doctor. Here are a few of the orthopedic questions patients frequently ask that you may be curious to know the answers to as well.
Q: What Causes Orthopedic Problems?
Orthopedic issues can have various potential causes, including:
- Overuse and strenuous activities
- Wear and tear due to aging
- Improper body mechanics (good posture in motion)
- Congenital defects
Q: How Can I Avoid Orthopedic Problems?
Many orthopedic problems can be prevented with simple self-care strategies, as explained below:
- Eating a balanced diet and engaging in regular exercise can help you keep your weight in check and lower your risk of joint problems.
- Incorporating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D into your diet is central to ensuring your bone health, so is limiting your intake of caffeine and alcohol and avoiding smoking.
- Additionally, observing proper mechanics, especially when lifting objects, exercising, and playing sports, helps you reduce your risk of orthopedic injuries. It also helps keep your joints and bones in optimal alignment and reduces strain on structures that support them.
Q: What Conditions Can Orthopedic Doctors Treat?
Orthopedic doctors specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of the full range of conditions and injuries affecting the musculoskeletal system. These include the following:
- Congenital deformities (e.g., developmental dysplasia of the hip- a problem in the way a baby’s joint forms)
- Nerve conditions (e.g., carpal tunnel syndrome)
- Plantar fasciitis
- Strains and sprains
- Tendon injuries
Orthopedic doctors commonly subspecialize and narrow their focus on specific treatment areas. For instance, hand surgeons only accommodate patients with upper-extremity problems.
Q: What Is Arthritis?
Arthritis (arthro-, the meaning of or related to joints; and –itis, meaning inflammation) is a blanket term encompassing more than 100 conditions that cause joint pain, stiffness, and swelling.
Two of the most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis (wear-and-tear arthritis), which occurs when the cartilage between the bones deteriorates; and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune condition that attacks the lining of the joints.
Q: Do Orthopedic Doctors Always Recommend Surgery?
While orthopedic doctors are adept at the vast range of surgical procedures for musculoskeletal problems, they are also experts in nonsurgical treatment modalities. Unless an orthopedic issue warrants immediate surgical intervention, such as in the case of an open fracture, orthopedic doctors often fully explore nonsurgical treatments before recommending surgery.
If your symptoms are not alleviated with a lengthy course of conservative treatment and you’re eligible for surgery, talk to your orthopedic about the minimally invasive technique. This allows you to experience less pain and lower risk of complications, and a shorter recovery period, unlike undergoing surgery via the traditional surgical approach.
First-Rate Orthopedic Care in Maryland
At Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder, our highly credentialed orthopedic doctors take great pleasure in not only delivering high-quality treatment but also in providing our patients with the right information, which they believe can have an appreciable impact on the way they manage their musculoskeletal health.
To schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic doctors, call us today at (410) 296-6232, or you can request an appointment online.