The specialty of orthopedics covers all things musculoskeletal, which includes bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and tendons – so an orthopedic surgeon treats myriad conditions. Following an orthopedic injury, an orthopedic surgeon will diagnose conditions, perform surgery if necessary, and assist with rehabilitation.
Orthopedic surgeons are now specializing further, devoting their practice to specific areas of the body or to particular or multi-specialty fields of study. For instance, some may specialize in sports medicine, pediatric orthopedics (treating children), or care for elderly patients’ needs as a geriatric orthopedic specialist.
There are 206 bones in the adult human body, so there are infinite opportunities for injury or for a bone issue to occur, which can be ideally addressed by a skilled orthopedic surgeon.
Below are some of the most frequent types of treatments orthopedic surgeons perform for their patients.
Soft Tissue Repair
Overuse of muscles, tendons, and ligaments – or a trauma to one or all three – can result in a soft tissue injury and should be treated by an orthopedic surgeon.
Some of the most common soft tissue injuries are sprains, strains, and bruising (contusions).
A sprain is a tear or a stretch of a ligament, which is the strong connective tissue between bones. Your orthopedic surgeon will diagnose your sprain, and determine whether it is mild, moderate or severe. Swelling, discoloration, and pain are common, as well as internal inflammation.
A strain is a tear or stretch of a muscle or tendon. A strain is painful and can cause cramping, spasms, and swelling.
Knees, ankles, and wrists are more susceptible to sprains, whereas the feet, legs, and back are more susceptible to strains. Depending on the severity of the sprain or strain, surgery may be required.
Sports Injury Surgery
There are 3.5 million sports-related injuries each year in the United States, according to The Johns Hopkins University. Sprains and strains often occur while engaging in sports.
Injuries to the shoulder – the most common being rotator cuff injuries – are common, as well as dislocated joints and broken bones. An orthopedic urgent care clinic like ours is incredibly beneficial if you experience a sports injury.
Internal Fixation for Fractures
This is the process by which an orthopedic surgeon stabilizes a broken bone via plates, wires, screws, and nails. This procedure is surprisingly more effective and ensures more proper healing than the use of splints or casts, which immobilize a broken bone from the outside. Rather, internal fixation fixes the bone from the inside.
Joint Dislocation Repair
Joints can be easily dislocated while a person is playing sports, or even just from a sudden twist or turn. A dislocated joint occurs when a bone slips from its proper position and out of the socket, and it is usually very painful.
Joints that are most often affected by a dislocation are the knee, ankle, shoulder, and hip. If the doctor is unable to manipulate the bone back into place, then surgery may be required. If the doctor is able to return the bone to the proper position, but dislocation is a recurring problem, then they may also perform corrective surgery to repair the dislocated joint.
Limb Length Inequality
Limb length inequality is when the legs or arms are unequal in length. This can occur due to a birth defect, previous fracture, previous infection, or trauma to a growth plate. Orthopedic intervention is dependent upon the severity of the measurable difference.
In severe cases of limb length inequality – where the difference between the two limbs is greater than 1.5 inches – surgery may be performed to shorten the longer limb or lengthen the shorter limb so they match. For younger patients who are still growing, surgery can stop or slow down the growth of the longer bone. The surgeries can involve the insertion of growth plates, staples, or screws.
Lengthening a limb requires the bone to be surgically cut into two sections, and then the surgeon connects the sections to an outer device to manipulate the bone. The surgeon turns a dial on the outside, gradually pulling the bones apart, so a new section of bone will grow in its place.
Orthopedic Specialists in Tennessee
Watauga Orthopaedics is a comprehensive orthopedic facility that includes walk-in, urgent care for orthopedic emergencies, ongoing orthopedic medical care, and physical therapy. We’re here for you following a sudden injury, but also for any of your musculoskeletal concerns.
Contact us today at (423) 282-9011, or walk right into either our Johnson City or Kingsport locations for immediate treatment from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday. We look forward to serving you.