Orthopedics is the medical specialty that focuses on the diagnosis, care and treatment of patients with disorders of the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and skin. These elements make up the musculoskeletal system. The physicians who specialize in this area are called orthopedic surgeons or orthopedists.
Orthopedic Surgeons are involved in all aspects of health care pertaining to the musculoskeletal system. They use medical, physical and rehabilitative methods as well as surgery. Typically, as much as 50 percent of the physician's practice is devoted to non-surgical or medical management of injuries or diseases, and 50 percent to surgical management. Surgery may be needed to restore function lost as a result of an injury or diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves or skin. With 206 bones in our body and each one of them having one or two or more joints and attached muscles, orthopedists have a lot of needed care to give.
Orthopedic Surgeons work closely with other health care professionals and often serve as a consultant to other physicians. Orthopedists play an important role in the organization and delivery of emergency care and manage complex trauma. An accredited certifying board such as the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons should certify the physician.
Important Points ...
* Get more active today for a healthier tomorrow. Daily physical activity now can give you an advantage over future injuries and needed surgeries.
* Exercise keeps your joints flexible, the muscles around the joints strong and healthy which reduces pain.
With winter approaching, remember that a snowblower can cause serious injuries. Snowblowers are a leading cause of finger amputations:
* Remember to read the instruction manual before operating a snowblower.
* Do not remove safety devices or guards.
* If your snowblower becomes jammed, turn it off, disengage the clutch, and wait more than 5 seconds for the blades to stop rotating. Beware of the brief recoil of motor and blades that occurs after the machine has been turned off. Use a broom handle to remove debris from the snowblower, not hands or feet.
The Scope of Orthopedics
Orthopedic Surgeons treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions including:
* Fractures and dislocations
* Torn ligaments, sprains and strains
* Tendon injuries, pulled muscles, and bursitis
* Ruptured discs, low back pain, and scoliosis
* Knock knees, bow legs, bunions, and hammertoes
* Arthritis and osteoporosis
* Total Joint Replacements
Good communication is the cornerstone of the physician-patient relationship. Open, honest communication builds trust and promotes healing. Some tips for patients:
* Don't ever hesitate to ask questions, voice concerns or speak up when you do not understand.
* Always be honest and complete when you talk with your doctor. Share your point of view and don't hold back information.
* Pay attention to your health care. If something doesn't seem right, tell your physician or another health care professional. Don't assume anything.
* Educate yourself about your illness or condition.
* Know the medications you take.
* Do your homework. Keep yourself up to date on new technology and medications.
* It is not necessary to have a referral from your regular physician to be seen by an orthopedic surgeon unless your insurance requires it.
Orthopedic Fast Facts
* Injuries to the musculoskeletal system or conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis rank number one in visits to the physicians' offices.
* One in seven Americans has a musculoskeletal impairment.
* The number of persons injuring musculoskeletal injuries is 28.6 million annually.
* Arthritis is the leading chronic condition reported by the elderly.
* Osteoporosis is a major health problem affecting 28 million Americans, and contributing to an estimated 1.5 million bone fractures each year.
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