The Field of Orthopaedic Medicine

The general field of medicine is devoted to curing the ailments suffered by human beings. Over the centuries, medicine has developed several sub-specialties that focus on the varying systems and areas of the body to enable specialists to focus their knowledge and ability on curing specific diseases and ailments. One of the major sub-specialties within medicine is the field of orthopaedic medicine. In the simplest terms possible, orthopaedic medicine is devoted to diagnosing and treating problems with a human beings musculoskeletal system.

The musculoskeletal system is responsible for enabling human beings to move efficiently. The system consists of the body’s bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissue. Orthopaedic medicine is concerned with addressing, diagnosing, and treating ailments affecting an individual’s musculoskeletal system. Injuries to the musculoskeletal system often affect a person’s ability to move about in an efficient manner, resulting in a deterioration of their quality of life. Orthopaedic medicine can treat a variety of injuries to the musculoskeletal system resulting from some of the following situations:

  • Musculoskeletal trauma
  • Sports injuries
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Congenital disorder

Orthopaedic medicine provides practicing doctors with surgical and non-surgical means of treating ailments in an individual suffering from disease or injury. The non-surgical methods of treating musculoskeletal conditions have often been described as low-tech as they don’t require invasive surgery and can often be solved through physical therapy, massage, or injections. Orthopaedic medicine focuses on using practical, reproducible approaches that help physicians recognize pain in an individual correctly and apply the correct treatment to the correct injury.

Orthopaedic medicine can however result in the need for surgery. Certain conditions such as advanced deterioration or damage to joins, ligaments, and/or muscles within the body cannot be treated through steroid injections, deep tissue massage, or physical therapy. Some of these major conditions include but are not limited to the following conditions:

  • Knee replacement
  • Torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (knee)
  • Hip replacement

While many of the ailments that can strike the musculoskeletal system require a licensed and fully trained physician to diagnose properly, the application of non-surgical treatments in orthopaedic medicine can be successfully applied by trained physical therapists that possess a solid understanding of the systems of the body and how they work.

Orthopaedic medicine is far from a new branch of medicine. The early practices of orthopaedic medicine occurred on the battle fields of the Middle Ages, and as technology has advanced so has the application of orthopaedic medicine to those afflicted by musculoskeletal problems. The field of orthopaedic medicine today is responsible for helping people regain their mobility and increase their quality of life in cases where individuals in the past would have been doomed to less enjoyable quality of life. Surgical approaches such as knee replacement and hip replacement surgeries allow elderly individuals to regain mobility and live a pain free life in the process; while ligament repair techniques, both surgical and non-surgical, allow athletes to return to the field of play with full range of motion when once their career might have been over. Orthopaedic medicine is devoted to properly diagnosing primary and secondary pain to quickly and effectively treat injuries.