Is There a Difference Between Pediatric Orthopedics and General Orthopedics?

Is There a Difference Between Pediatric Orthopedics and General Orthopedics?

by Crystal (SU)

Orthopedics is a branch of medicine that involves the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions and diseases involving the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedics was formerly oriented only toward treating children with birth defects in their bones – thus the root word “ped” which means “child” – but it has since expanded to all age groups.


The musculoskeletal system includes the body’s bones, tendons, ligaments, and muscles, and general orthopedic doctors usually treat adults – especially athletes and older adults. Pediatric doctors only treat children who have deformities or injuries in the musculoskeletal system.


Why Should I See a Pediatric Orthopedist?


While all physicians are thoroughly trained in medical school, they will then choose different specializations to focus on. This allows them to become experts in a particular field of medicine.


When patients need treatment for a specific issue, they see a specialist who is an expert in their particular condition or issue. This is why a person can have many different doctors throughout their lifetime: a cardiologist for a heart condition, an endocrinologist for hormone issues, a gynecologist or urologist for reproductive issues, and an orthopedist for musculoskeletal issues.


Pediatric orthopedics is a specialization within the orthopedic branch of medicine. An orthopedic physician can choose to focus his or her practice in a subcategory such as pediatric orthopedics (for children), sports orthopedics (for athletes), or even hip and knee surgery.


What Do Orthopedists Do for Children?


If your child has an issue in their bones, muscles, or joints, a pediatric orthopedic physician is the most qualified type of doctor to treat the child. A pediatric orthopedist has specialized knowledge, training, and experience treating musculoskeletal issues particular to children.


While a general orthopedist may also be qualified to treat your child’s orthopedic issue, a pediatric orthopedist has a greater wealth of knowledge on your child’s condition. They understand the unique factors of a child’s musculoskeletal system that make their bones and muscles different from adults.


For example, some bones are still in the cartilage stage when a child is young, and they are eventually replaced with bone.


What Does a Pediatric Orthopedist Treat?


There are a variety of orthopedic conditions and diseases that pediatric orthopedists can diagnose, treat, and prevent, including:


-       Bone fractures

-       Bone deformities

-       Scoliosis

-       Cerebral palsy

-       Back injuries

-       Flat feet


Many pediatric orthopedists may treat a child who has cerebral palsy and continue treating the person through adulthood, in the interest of continuity of care. It’s ideal for a doctor to treat you who already knows your prior medical history, especially if you have a pre-existing or chronic condition.


Pediatric Orthopedic Doctors in Tennessee


If you need an orthopedic physician to treat an issue or condition, whether for an adult or for a child, contact the specialists at Watauga Orthopaedics. We have doctors who specialize in musculoskeletal conditions of every sort, from pediatrics to sports medicine, from trauma to hip replacements.


Call us at (423) 282-9011 today to make an appointment, or request an appointment online. We look forward to taking care of you and your family.