One of the single broadest categories for bodily injuries is that of orthopedic injuries, or any injuries that arise based on external forces such as falls, accidents and related incidents. If you’ve suffered such an injury and are unsure how to proceed with treatment, orthopedic doctors and surgeons will be some of your top resources.
At The Orthopaedic Center, we’re proud to provide orthopedic doctor and surgeon services to patients around Tulsa, with programs ranging from shoulder and elbow treatments to sports medicine, radiology, physical therapy and much more. Many of our patients are experiencing their first significant orthopedic injury of any kind, and are often unsure about how to find the right specialist or treatment for their needs. Here are some basic facts on the realm of orthopedic medicine that will help anyone in this situation understand exactly what their options are and how to proceed.
Orthopedic Doctors Vs. Orthopedic Surgeons
While both orthopedic doctors and orthopedic surgeons are focused on the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries, they have different roles to play in your overall care. Orthopedic doctors diagnose and treat conditions that affect bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments using non-surgical methods such as medication, physical therapy and injections.
Orthopedic surgeons, on the other hand, are typically orthopedic doctors who also have additional training in surgical techniques. They are qualified to perform surgeries on various parts of the body, including bones, joints, muscles and tendons. Depending on your specific injury or condition, your orthopedic doctor may refer you to an orthopedic surgeon for further treatment.
Types of Orthopedic Injuries
Orthopedic injuries can be divided into two main categories: acute injuries and overuse injuries. Acute injuries occur suddenly, often due to a traumatic event such as a fall or accident. They can include fractures, dislocations, sprains and strains.
Overuse injuries, on the other hand, develop slowly over time due to repetitive motions or excessive stress on a certain part of the body. They are common among athletes and can include conditions such as tendonitis, stress fractures and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Many Orthopedic Doctors and Surgeons Tend to Specialize
One important fact to note is that many orthopedic doctors and surgeons tend to specialize in certain areas of the body or types of injuries. For example, some may focus on treating shoulder and elbow injuries, while others may specialize in spine conditions or sports medicine. It’s important to do your research and find a specialist who has experience treating your specific injury or condition for the best possible outcome.
Surgery Isn’t the Only Option
When some people sustain a significant orthopedic injury, they may assume that surgery is the only treatment option. However, this is not always the case. In many cases, non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy or injections can effectively treat the injury and help you regain full function without the need for surgery.
Orthopedic doctors treat the entire musculoskeletal system, so even if surgery is needed, they can provide you with comprehensive care and rehabilitation to help you recover fully.
Do You Need a Referral?
A common question patients have is whether they need a referral to see an orthopedic doctor or surgeon. The answer depends on your insurance provider and policy. Some may require a referral from your primary care physician, while others may allow you to self-refer.
In most cases, you can typically start by scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician, who can then refer you to an orthopedic specialist if necessary. However, if you are experiencing severe pain or symptoms that require immediate attention, it’s important to seek medical care right away.
Top Priorities in Orthopedic Treatments
Whether your injury requires surgery or not, the top priorities in any orthopedic treatment plan tend to be similar. They include:
- Reducing pain: Naturally, one of the main goals of any treatment plan is to reduce pain and discomfort. This can involve a combination of medication, physical therapy, and other non-surgical methods.
- Restoring function: The ultimate goal of any orthopedic treatment is to restore full function to the injured area. This may involve surgery or a variety of rehabilitation techniques.
- Range of motion: Improving range of motion is also crucial in orthopedic treatment, as it helps prevent stiffness and promotes healing.
- Strength: Strengthening the injured area is important for a full recovery and to prevent future injuries.
- Future injury prevention: One of the most important aspects of orthopedic treatment is preventing future injuries. This may involve using proper form during physical activity and receiving appropriate training to strengthen the muscles around the affected area.
Orthopedic injuries can be overwhelming, but with the help of a qualified orthopedic doctor or surgeon, you can receive effective treatment and get back to your normal activities. If you are experiencing an orthopedic injury, don’t hesitate to seek medical attention and start on the path to recovery.
At The Orthopaedic Center, our team of highly trained orthopedic doctors and surgeons are dedicated to providing the best care for our patients around Tulsa. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and take the first step towards healing.