Orthopedic doctors specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders and injuries affecting bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. They work with people of all ages and can provide the expertise you need if you are experiencing a musculoskeletal problem.
Orthopedic doctors have specialized training and education in a wide range of problems caused by disease and injury in bones, joints, and other structures that are involved in making the body move. They provide expert diagnoses and care and offer a wide variety of treatment options from nonsurgical treatments, such as physical therapy or medications, to more invasive or complex procedures, such as injections or joint replacement surgery.
They work with patients with new injuries, as well as those coping with chronic conditions, such as arthritis. Although orthopedic doctors typically have a good overall knowledge of general orthopedics, many specialize in a particular procedure or area of the body.
Reasons to Visit an Orthopedic Doctor
There are a number of reasons that can indicate it’s time to see an orthopedic doctor, these can include:
1. Ongoing Pain
Even minor injuries such as strained muscles can take time to heal. However, if you are experiencing ongoing pain or have pain that is affecting your quality of life and preventing you from doing the activities you want to do, you should consider visiting an orthopedic doctor. Without the appropriate treatment, some conditions may get worse over time and could lead to permanent damage.
2. Reduced Function
In some cases, an injury or condition may reduce your level of function or range of motion in a particular area, making it difficult for you to carry out normal day-to-day activities. An orthopedic doctor can discuss what treatment options are available to help alleviate your symptoms and allow you to get back to previously enjoyed activities. They can also work with you to prevent a progressive condition, such as arthritis, from getting worse.
3. Joint Instability
If you experience instability, such as while standing or walking, it may indicate a problem with a joint. Joint instability occurs when tissues, such as muscles and ligaments weaken. This may be due to an injury, such as trauma, a dislocation, repetitive motion, or a congenital condition. Once the tissues weaken, they no longer hold the bones in the joint in their proper place. Knee instability is a common joint condition that can cause the knee to give way, often with no warning. An orthopedic doctor can determine the cause of your instability and work on correcting it. In some cases, arthroscopy may be necessary. This is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the use of a special miniature camera and surgical equipment to view, diagnose, and treat problems inside a joint.
4. An Injury that Isn’t Healing
If you have had an injury, such as a strained muscle or sprained ankle, that doesn’t seem to be improving after a few days with self-care, such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE), or if pain or swelling is getting worse, you should seek medical advice. An orthopedic doctor can diagnose your injury and advise you on the best treatment options.
5. A Chronic Condition
Chronic orthopedic conditions are health conditions or diseases that typically last 3 months or longer. They can cause pain and dysfunction, and make normal daily activities more challenging. They tend to be progressive, getting gradually worse over time. Depending on the condition, it may be caused by factors such as genetics, age, overuse, or result from an autoimmune problem or hormone deficiency. An orthopedic doctor can help if you have a chronic condition, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, bursitis, or fibromyalgia.
What Can I Expect at a Visit with an Orthopedic Doctor?
During your initial appointment, your orthopedic doctor will conduct a comprehensive exam. This includes collecting your health history and gaining information about the problem, such as the symptoms, how long it’s been going on, the types of treatments already explored, and how well those treatments have worked. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam and may request diagnostic testing, such as an X-ray or MRI, to help determine or rule out a condition.
Following your diagnosis, your doctor will give you information about all the different treatment options available, as well as what kind of outcomes you can expect with each treatment, so you can make an informed decision about your care. Once you have decided on the best treatment option for your needs and condition, your orthopedic doctor will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan.
Orthopedic Doctor Near Me in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
If you have pain or reduced function and are looking for expert orthopedic care, contact Paul Meli Orthopedic Surgery today. Dr. Meli has extensive experience treating a wide variety of orthopedic conditions, sports, and work-related injuries, and uses the latest, most advanced surgical and nonsurgical techniques.