The field of orthopedics involves the tissues of the musculoskeletal system: muscles, bones, joints and nerves. The term is derived from the Greek terms â€œortho,â€ meaning straight or right, and â€œpais,â€ meaning children. Orthopedics first began as a treatment for children with crippling diseases affecting the musculoskeletal structure, but it now treats any ailment of that structure suffered by any aged person.
Musculoskeletal injury or congenital defects, rheumatoid and osteoarthritic diseases, and chronic or acute pain are all within the scope of an orthopedic doctors practice. Sports medicine is becoming a large part of the practice. Clinics dealing with just the treatment of sports injuries populate the landscape in growing numbers.
Most orthopedic doctors specialize in one of the areas of focus noted above, and some who address musculoskeletal injury or birth defect further specialize in specific areas of the body such as the back, hips, knees or feet. However, there is typically no distinction in an orthopedic practice between chronic and acute issues since treatments are usually applied in similar fashion.
As mentioned, many orthopedic doctors have gravitated to sports medicine and acute musculoskeletal injury where surgical techniques of tissue issues such as damaged and displaced ligaments and tendons or bone fractures, which were once treated only by extensive surgical procedures with long recovery periods are now treated by very minor, significantly less invasive surgical precision with much shorter recovery periods. This has often meant the difference between career-ending sports injuries and being treated and cured, saving the sports career.
Another area of growth in orthopedic care is specializing in geriatric replacement of hips, knees and other essential musculoskeletal structures. The design and development of artificial replacement parts for these structures may have grown out of the technologies developed for sports medicine, but just as effectively address these growing geriatric issues.
The treatment of serious bone fractures, particularly in the instance of multiple, compound fractures, has had technical advances in the implantation of plates, pins and other fasteners to secure the bone fragments in proper alignment while they heal.
One ailment where technology has once again come to the aid of the orthopedic doctor is in the treatment of arthritis, a joint disease that robs the patient of pain-free movement of musculoskeletal structures in virtually every part of the body. In advanced stages of some versions of arthritis (there are over 100 different arthritic conditions) the disease may express only as pain in the joints to sever physical deformity of the joints, such as in the case of rheumatoid arthritis.
While there is no absolute cure for arthritis, particularly expressed as rheumatoid or osteoarthritis, treatment options vary from pharmaceutical pain relief to physical therapy. However, in some instances, the pain relief is not just masking defeating the pain signals to the brain, but is addressing the inflammation in the joint which is often the origin of the pain. By reducing inflammation, pain relief is achieved. However, medicines, once prescribed, are typically necessary for the rest of a patients life.
Other than headache pain, most of the serious pains and injuries we suffer are often within the scope of an orthopedic doctor to treat and, hopefully, cure. If you are based in Arizona, you may visit the following website:
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