What is orthopedics?
The word orthopedic comes from two Greek words:
· ortho meaning straight
· pedia meaning children
Orthopedics is the branch of medicine concerned with diseases, injuries, and conditions of the musculoskeletal system - relating to the body's muscles and skeleton, and including the joints, ligaments, tendons, and nerves.
The proper title of this medical specialty is orthopedic surgery, although orthopedics is a generally accepted term.
Who treats orthopedic conditions?
Orthopedic conditions may be treated by your physician and/or other medical specialists and healthcare providers. Several physicians from different medical specialties may be involved in the treatment at the same time. This multidisciplinary team approach is particularly important in managing the symptoms of an orthopedic condition, especially as many symptoms are chronic and change in severity over time. Some of the more common medical professionals involved in the treatment of orthopedic conditions may include the following:
· Primary Care Physician
A primary care physician is one who has specialized education and training in general internal medicine, family practice, or another first-level-of-care area. Primary care physicians are those who provide patients with any/all of the following:
o routine health care (including annual physical examinations and immunizations)
o treatment for acute medical conditions
o initial care for conditions that may become more serious or chronic in nature
While your primary care physician may treat and/or diagnose your disease, he/she may refer you to a specialist for more specialized treatment of certain aspects of a disease.
· Orthopedic Surgeon
The physician who specializes in orthopedic surgery is called an orthopedic surgeon, or sometimes, simply, an orthopedist. Orthopedists are educated in the workings of the musculoskeletal system, which includes (but is not limited to) diagnosing a condition or disorder, identifying and treating an injury, providing rehabilitation to an affected area or function, and establishing prevention protocol to inhibit further damage to a diseased area...
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...sp; assisting children and adults in learning how to carry out daily tasks
o conducting group or individual treatment to help children and adults in a mental health center learn to cope with daily activities
o recommending changes in layout and design of the home or school to allow children and adults with injuries or disabilities greater access and mobility
Occupational therapists work in a variety of different settings, including the following:
· rehabilitation centers
· home care agencies
· private practice
· government agencies
A podiatrist specializes in foot care and is licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery.
Nurses specialized in the care of orthopedic conditions may assist your physician in providing care. In addition, these nurses will help you to understand your treatment plan and can answer many of your questions.
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