There are many types of doctors because there are so many parts of the human body. If you've been experiencing joint or bone pain, you want to visit an orthopedist. You'll typically need a referral from your primary care physician, but before you ask your doctor, keep reading to learn more about what orthopedists can do for you.
What Does an Orthopedist Do?
An orthopedist is a doctor that handles the skeletal system, including the joints and all parts of the joint, such as muscles, ligaments, and tendons. However, they differ from a rheumatologist. Rheumatologists also deal with joints, but they typically handle joint pain from an infection or similar condition, like myositis, gout, fibromyalgia, scleroderma, and others.
An orthopedist, however, typically handles joint pain and disfunction due to injury, poor posture, advanced age, etc. They also handle osteoarthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis. Your orthopedist will diagnose you by listening to your history/symptoms and by taking X-rays and other imaging tests.
Who Should See an Orthopedist?
There are many reasons you may want to visit an orthopedist, such as chronic pain, stiffness, reduced range of motion, instability while walking, weakness in the arms/legs, and much more. You may also want to see an orthopedist if you have been diagnosed with arthritis, bursitis, plantar fasciitis, tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, tears, sprains, and fractures.
You may also want to see an orthopedist if you have a history of joint damage, such as a dislocated knee. Once the knee has been dislocated, it has a higher chance of doing it again, but an orthopedist may be able to help prevent this.
Is Surgery Always Required?
Depending on the severity of the condition, treatment can vary, and include non-surgical and surgical options. In minor cases, you may find relief with rest and a brace or cast. However, other patients may need fluid drainage, joint manipulation, and various injections like steroids.
In severe cases, surgery is needed, but even then, treatment can vary widely. Some patients only need surgery to remove some damaged tissue, but other patients may need full joint replacement surgery. For this reason, the recovery time after surgery can vary drastically from person to person.
Joints consist of many parts, which can make it hard to treat many conditions. An orthopedist, however, specializes in joint conditions, and they will work with your other doctors to help craft the perfect recovery treatment. If you would like to know more, ask your doctor about a referral to an orthopedist today.