Orthopedics

When to Visit an Orthopedist and 4 More Ortho Questions: Answered


Your musculoskeletal system does a lot for your body: it allows you to move, protects your organs, and much more. So when something doesn’t feel right, whether it’s a chronic pain in the knee or a potential bone fracture, seeking help is essential. 

What are signs that I should visit an orthopedic specialist?

If you notice any of the following symptoms, it may be time to schedule an appointment with an orthopedist. 

  • Persistent pain in joints, bones, muscles, tendons, cartilage, or other parts of the musculoskeletal system 
  • Inability to perform everyday tasks or activities 
  • Joint deformity 
  • Limited range of motion 
     

Additionally, you should schedule an appointment with an orthopedic specialist if you recently underwent a bone density test and your results show signs of osteopenia or osteoporosis

Why is timely care for orthopedic conditions essential? 

Seeking immediate orthopedic treatment is essential, as some conditions can become more severe over time, including osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. On the other hand, untreated injuries and trauma, such as a fracture, can result in infection and inflammation of the bone and marrow (osteomyelitis). 

What are potential treatments an orthopedist will prescribe? 

There are several different types of treatments that your doctor may prescribe, and they might even recommend doing some of them in conjunction with one another. These include: 

  • Lifestyle changes: Depending on your condition, your orthopedist may recommend losing weight to reduce pressure on the joints or bones. This can be achieved by eating a healthy diet that helps you reach your daily recommended intake of calcium, vitamin A, magnesium, and other essential nutrients. They also will likely prescribe low-impact exercises, like walking, swimming, or cycling. 
  • Medication: Your orthopedist may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or analgesics for pain relief, bisphosphonates to reduce bone loss for osteoporosis or osteopenia, corticosteroids for severe osteoarthritis flare-ups, and more. 
  • Orthopedic rehabilitation: This form of physical therapy can help patients increase their range of motion, reduce pain, and improve mobility, among other benefits. 
  • Orthopedic surgery: Your doctor will only recommend surgery if the above treatments aren’t doing enough to resolve your pain or are unable to treat your condition. Examples of orthopedic surgery include joint replacement, bone grafting, and meniscectomy. 

What types of orthopedic rehabilitation are available? 

Our team of physical therapists provides a variety of treatments for reducing pain, improving mobility, and more, including: 

  • Massage
  • Manual therapy/mobilization
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Strengthening techniques
  • Dry needling 
  • Functional movement training
  • Gait training
  • Aquatic therapy 

How do I choose an orthopedic surgeon? 

Surgery of any kind can be a little nerve-wracking, but doing your research and finding a surgeon you are comfortable with can make a world of difference. When choosing a doctor, you should check to see whether they are board-certified in orthopedic surgery. Board certification isn’t necessary to be a surgeon, but it does show a doctor’s dedication to continuing education and maintaining expertise in their specialty. Another factor to consider is the quality of the hospital at which the surgeon works. Do they use advanced techniques, or do they stick to more traditional procedures? 

At St. Joseph Health, all of our orthopedic surgeons are board-certified, and we are passionate about using advanced technology and innovative procedures to help you recover more quickly. Additionally, our network of surgeons, nurses, and physical therapists communicate to create a streamlined path to comprehensive orthopedic care for all patients. 

Is chronic pain affecting your life? Schedule an appointment with a St. Joseph Health orthopedic specialist to get back to the things you love. 

Sources: 

Arthritis Foundation | Vitamin and Mineral Guide for Arthritis

Healthline | Osteoarthritis Medications List

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