top of page


What is Orthopaedics?

Orthopaedics (alternatively, orthopedics) is a medical specialty focused on the diagnosis and treatment of conditions, disorders, and injuries of the muscles, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. A doctor who specializes in this medical specialty is called an orthopaedic (alternatively, orthopedic) surgeon.

What is arthritis?

The word arthritis literally means "joint inflammation." Arthritis refers to a group of more than 100 rheumatic diseases and other conditions that cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease that damages the lining surrounding our joints while also destroying our bones, tissue, and joints over time. Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that slowly damages the cartilage surrounding the ends of bones and is common in the hip, knee, or spine.

What is bursitis?

Bursitis is an inflammation or irritation of a bursa, which is a fluid-filled sac located around a joint. Bursitis causes a reduction in or a loss of motion at the affected joint. Bursitis typically occurs in the heel, hip, knee, shoulder, or thumb.

What is cartilage?

Cartilage is a soft, rubbery, gel-like coating on the ends of bones, where they articulate, that protects joints and facilitates movement.

What is a ligament?

A ligament is an elastic band of tissue that connects bone to bone and provides stability to the joint.

What is a tendon?

A tendon is a band of tissue that connects muscle to bone.

What is tendonitis?

Tendonitis, medically known as tendinitis, is an inflammation or irritation of a tendon. Chronic strain, overuse or misuse of a tendon leading to a repetitive stress injury, or a serious acute injury can lead to a weakness, tear, or swelling of the tendon tissue, resulting in pain and stiffness near the tendon. Tendonitis usually occurs in the elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, thumb, or wrist, but can occur anywhere there is a tendon.

Should I use ice or heat on my injury?

The general rule of thumb is to use ice in the acute stage of an injury (within the first 24- 48 hours), or whenever swelling is showing. Ice helps to reduce inflammation and swelling by decreasing blood flow to the area that is injured. The general guideline is to apply ice indirectly (not directly on the skin) for 20 minutes, remove the ice for at least 20 minutes, and repeat as necessary. Heat is used to increase blood flow, which helps promote pain relief after inflammation and swelling subside. Heat is also used to assist in warming muscles up prior to exercise, any physical activity, or physical therapy.

What is an orthopaedic doctor? What is an orthopaedic surgeon?

An orthopaedic doctor, also known as an orthopedist, is a medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathy (DO) who specializes in the musculoskeletal system-bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and nerves. Orthopaedic surgeons are specialized in the musculoskeletal system; many orthopaedists specialize in certain areas of the body, such as foot and ankle; hand and wrist; or back, neck, and spine. Additionally, orthopaedic doctors may focus on a specific field of orthopaedics, like pediatrics, sports medicine, or trauma.

Explain the education of a board-certified surgeon.

Board-certified orthopaedic surgeons have successfully completed a minimum of 13 years of formal education: 


  • Undergraduate: Four years of study in a college or university

  • Medical School: Four years of study in a school of medicine

  • Orthopaedic Residency: Five years of study at a major medical institution

  • Board-Certified, Fellowshi p-Trained Orthopaedic Surgeons Have Completed:

  • Undergraduate: Four years of study in a college or university

  • Medical School: Four years of study in a school of medicine 

  • Orthopaedic Residency: Five years of study at a major medical institution

  • Fellowship Training: One year of specialized education in accredited fellowship program


All orthopaedic surgeons continue their medical education yearly to stay current in orthopaedic knowledge and skills. 

What is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon?

Once a doctor has completed an orthopaedic residency at a major medical institution, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery offers a written test to become board­eligible. If the written test is passed, the doctor becomes "eligible" to take the oral test, after two years in practice. When the doctor passes the oral exam, the doctor becomes "board-certified" and is considered a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.

The intent of the certification process, as defined by the board members of the American Board of Medical Specialties, is to provide assurance to the public that a certified medical specialist has successfully completed an approved educational program and an evaluation, including an examination process designed to assess the knowledge, experience, and skills requisite to the provision of high-quality patient care in that specialty. 

What is a fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon?

A fellowship is the period of medical training that a physician undertakes after completing medical school and residency. During this time, usually one year, the physician is known as a fellow and spends that time focusing on a specific subspecialty of medicine or surgery. A fellowship-trained surgeon has undergone at least one fellowship in orthopaedic surgery.

What is a physiatrist (physical medicine & rehabilitation doctor)?

A physiatrist is a medical doctor specializing in nonsurgical pain management, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and neurological studiese, you’d understand your answer.

What is a primary care sports medicine doctor?

A primary care sports medicine doctor is a leader in the field of sports medicine. Either through advanced fellowship training or through years of clinical experience, a primary care sports medicine doctor has learned the skills to take care of athletes of all ages, sports, and levels of compet iti on. Primary care sports medicine doctors often serve as team doctors to professional sports teams or are personal doctors to el ite level athletes.

What is a physician assistant?

Physician assistants are healthcare professionals that are licensed to examine, order and interpret tests, and diagnose and treat patients with the supervision of a doctor as part of a healthcare team. PAs have their master's degree and undergo 6 -7 years of education before obtaining a national certification. Depending on the type of medical setting, physician assistants practice in offices, hospitals, and also assist surgeons in the operating room. PAs provide a broad range of healthcare services that are similar to those you receive from a doctor. They are trained to recognize when patients need the attention of their supervising doctor.

What is a physical therapist?

A physical therapist is licensed by the state and specializes in therapy programs for musculoskeletal injuries and disorders, sports injuries, postoperative rehabilitation, and massage therapy.

What is an occupational therapist?

An occupational therapist is licensed by the state and specializes in the treatment of the upper extremity (hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder) and work injuries . The services provided by occupational therapists include patient education, joint range of motion, adaptive techniques, splinting, and workplace evaluations

bottom of page