When to See An Orthopedic Doctor

When to See An Orthopedic Doctor

by Crystal (SU)

Many people wonder when they should see an orthopedic physician. Most are used to discussing a lot of their health issues with their primary care physicians and don’t think they need an orthopedic doctor. However, orthopedic doctors are a great resource to include on your health care team to ensure you stay healthy. Let’s take a look at what an orthopedic physician is and when you should see one.

Why Are Orthopedic Doctors Important?  

Orthopedic physicians are doctors who specialize in diagnosing, treating, and preventing diseases, conditions, and injuries related to the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system is made up of the skeleton, muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the body. When there are issues with the musculoskeletal system, an orthopedic physician can identify and treat it.

If you are wondering why you should see an orthopedic doctor instead of, say, your primary care physician or another type of specialist, think about this: would you see a cardiologist (heart specialist) for a thyroid issue or a podiatrist (foot doctor) for a kidney issue? The answer is no! While all doctors attend medical school and are extremely knowledgeable about the human body, no doctor is a specialist in every brand of medicine. Specialist physicians are experts in their specific field of medicine and are the best position to most accurately diagnose your issue and offer the best treatments available.

Orthopedist doctors are experts in musculoskeletal issues and offer trustworthy treatments. If you are experiencing a musculoskeletal issue, there is no doubt that you need to see an orthopedic physician.

When Should I See an Orthopedic Doctor?

Here are some examples to help you determine when to enlist the help of an orthopedic specialist:  

·       Chronic Pain – Almost every person on this planet experiences pain at some point in their lives. Usually, pain occurs when you injure yourself. Temporary pain is normal. However, if you experience pain continuously, you are experiencing chronic pain. Chronic pain is a common condition that orthopedic doctors treat. It is a sign that an underlying condition or injury is being left untreated. It is also possible that you are overusing or incorrectly using a certain body part, which is causing the pain.


·       Limited Range of Motion – Limited range of motion often happens after an injury or accident. Let’s say after you healed from an accident, you have less range of motion in your ankle, which then affects your walking pace and balance. Orthopedic doctors can examine you to find the reason for your reduced range of motion and recommend treatments to help improve it.


·       Difficulty With Daily Activities – If you experience difficulty in performing daily activities such as walking, doing chores, working, or taking part in your hobbies and activities, there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Some examples include your knees hurting while you walk, your wrists hurting when you type on a keyboard, or your back hurting when you garden. Some individuals may associate limited ability to do daily activities with aging. To a certain extent, aging does reduce a person’s abilities to do certain things. However, if you experience significant problems in daily activities or experience pain when doing them, an orthopedic problem needing treatment may be the cause.  


·       Recent Injury – Orthopedic doctors are great for treating a variety of injuries in the musculoskeletal system after an accident or surgery. They can recommend the right treatments to fix issues such as bone fractures, torn ligaments, strained muscles, and more.  


·       Old Injuries – Remember the saying “time heals all wounds?” Well it doesn’t always apply to musculoskeletal injuries! While our bodies can do amazing things, they don’t always heal injuries completely. This can cause continuous pain and reduced function. If you had an injury or surgery several months or years ago that is still causing you pain, get it checked out by an orthopedic doctor.

Watauga Orthopaedics has expertise in general orthopedic care, sports medicine, physical therapy, and rehabilitation. Their comprehensive musculoskeletal continuum includes innovative treatments for a plethora of orthopedic conditions. If you have an orthopedic condition, call (423) 282-9011 today to make an appointment. You can also request an appointment online.