Primary care doctors are very different from orthopedic physicians, particularly in that primary physicians are generalists whereas orthopedists are specialists. There are many health conditions that only an orthopedic doctor can quickly and properly diagnose and treat, specifically injuries to the bones, joints, or muscles.
An orthopedic doctor specializes in all issues and diseases related to the musculoskeletal system. This includes sudden or developing pain that may not have an obvious cause.
When Should I Visit an Orthopedic Doctor?
Although primary care doctors can treat minor aches and pains, some conditions may require the expertise and knowledge of a specialist. Below are some of the main reasons why patients visit an orthopedic doctor:
A fracture is a crack or break in a bone. It can occur from many things, especially a fall, car accident, overuse, or sports injury. Conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis may also cause a fracture.
The treatment you will need depends on how severe your injury is and where the fracture is located. Your orthopedic doctor may recommend solutions such as applying a cast or, if the break is severe or complex, surgery.
#2: Strains and Sprains
A sprain occurs when a ligament is pulled, torn partially, or torn fully; a strain is when a tendon or a muscle suffers the same type of damage. Ligaments connect bones to other bones, whereas tendons connect bones to muscles.
Strain injuries usually result from overusing particular muscle groups, repetitive forceful movements, and poor posture. Common signs include stiffness, tenderness, and tingling around the area. Sprains tend to happen as an acute injury, such as a sprained ankle.
#3: Knee Pain
Knee pain can result from a variety of reasons. Conditions like arthritis and injuries obtained while playing sports can strain or sprain the joint, limiting your range of motion.
The injury may also be due to a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) or a torn meniscus (a moon-shaped section of cartilage in the knee), so an orthopedic doctor will be able to pinpoint the exact cause and provide complete treatment. Whereas a family doctor would probably give you a prescription pain reliever for temporary relief, an orthopedist can reduce or eliminate the cause of your chronic or severe knee pain with specialized treatments.
#4: Low Back Pain
Many adults suffer from low back pain due to their lifestyles, health conditions, and work demands. You may experience a dull or sharp ache in your lower back that may last a few days, but it is a good idea to visit an orthopedic specialist if it lasts for more than a few weeks.
#5: Hip Pain
Hip pain may occur within or around the hip joint or may radiate to your thighs or buttocks. Minor pains usually subside by taking over-the-counter pain relievers, but a hip injury or constant hip pain is best treated by an orthopedic doctor. The pain may be due to anything from hairline fractures due to osteoporosis to arthritis in the hip.
#6: Shoulder Pain
Injuries to the shoulder joint, such as a rotator cuff tear, can result in shoulder pain. Swelling, pain, and limited range of motion in the shoulder may be due to dislocation, arthritis, or overuse injury. If there is visible discoloration or swelling, or if the pain is getting worse over the course of two weeks or so, consult with an orthopedic doctor.
Whether it affects your hands, knees, shoulders, or other joints, arthritis pain should be addressed by an orthopedist in order to prevent it from progressing into a debilitating condition. The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, also called wear-and-tear arthritis or just “arthritis,” which can affect everyone from athletes to retirees.
Your orthopedic physician can provide methods to help keep the pain and stiffness at bay so you can enjoy an active lifestyle. If your arthritis is becoming severe, surgery may be warranted.
Skilled Orthopedic Doctor in Plantation, Florida
If you are suffering from a musculoskeletal problem or pain that isn’t going away, visit us at Baylis & Brown Orthopedics. Our medical specialists have decades of experience in assessing, diagnosing, and treating orthopedic issues of all kinds, from arthritis to sports injuries.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, call us today at (954) 476-8800 or fill out our easy-to-use appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you enjoy the active lifestyle you love.