Orthopedic injuries are some of the most common injuries because of how much time we spend on our feet. We also put so much strain on our joints every day. Fortunately, many different types of orthopedic doctors can help with your orthopedic issues. They specialize in various areas and use varying techniques to treat patients.
So, how do you know which type of doctor is right for you?
The two main types of orthopedic doctors are specialists and surgeons. Specialists focus on identifying and treating the root cause of your pain or injury. They often recommend physical or occupational therapy as part of your treatment plan.
Being an orthopedic specialist means having in-depth knowledge of the musculoskeletal system. That includes the bones, muscles, soft tissues, and the following:
- Joints – where two bones meet
- Tendons – fibrous bands of tissue connecting muscles to bones
- Ligaments – fibrous bands of tissue connecting bones to other bones
This expertise allows them to diagnose and treat conditions accurately. Orthopedic specialists often treat arthritis, joint pain, hip pain, neck pain, and sports injuries.
In a way, all orthopedic doctors are specialists, but some have completed additional training to become board-certified in a particular specialty. For example, you may see a doctor with board certification in sports medicine or pediatrics.
Surgeons are orthopedic doctors who operate on patients to correct their injuries or pain. They may use various techniques, including:
- Arthroscopy – a minimally invasive surgery that uses a small camera to look inside your joint and make repairs
- Joint replacement – replaces your damaged joint with an artificial one
- Spinal fusion – fuses two or more vertebrae in your spine to stabilize it
Orthopedic surgeons also often pursue additional training in a specific area, like:
- Sports medicine – focuses on injuries that occur during sports and other physical activities
- Pediatric orthopedics – focuses on children’s orthopedic injuries and conditions
- Orthopedic oncology – focuses on tumors of the musculoskeletal system
They may also pursue further fellowship training in a particular area, such as:
- Hand and microvascular surgery
- Foot and ankle surgery
- Spine surgery
- Shoulder and elbow surgery
Choosing The Right Doctor
There are a few things you should consider when choosing an orthopedic doctor. You should consider your injury’s cause and your goals for treatment. You should also decide if you want to avoid surgery. Think of whether you’re willing to try physical therapy or other non-surgical treatments.
Go to an orthopedic specialist if:
- You want a comprehensive evaluation
- You want to know all of your treatment options
- You want to avoid surgery, if possible
- You have a condition that requires ongoing treatment, such as arthritis
On the other hand, go to an orthopedic surgeon if:
- You have an injury that requires surgery
- You have a condition that has not responded to other treatments
- You want to explore all of your treatment options
- You want a second opinion on a treatment recommendation
No matter what type of orthopedic doctor you choose, you should feel comfortable with them. Ask about their experience treating others with your condition and their success rates with other patients.
If you’re unsure what type of doctor you need, your primary care doctor can help you decide. They may refer you to an orthopedic specialist or surgeon based on your specific needs.
Orthopedic Doctor Near You In Little Rock, AR
When you’re dealing with pain or an injury, the last thing you want to do is see the wrong type of doctor. There are two main types of orthopedic doctors: specialists and surgeons.
Trust Bowen Hefley Orthopedics if you need an orthopedic doctor near you. We have trained and experienced providers who can give you the compassionate and comprehensive care you deserve. Call our friendly staff at (800) 336-2412 or book a consultation using our convenient appointment request form.
Our top orthopedic surgeons in Arkansas look forward to serving you!