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Health Care Providers: Orthopedists

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What Is Orthopedics?

Orthopedics (or-tho-PEE-diks) is health care that corrects or prevents problems or injuries of the musculoskeletal system — our bones, joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

What Is an Orthopedist?

An orthopedist (or-tho-PEE-dist), or orthopedic surgeon, studies, diagnoses, and treats conditions that affect muscles, joints, and bones, such as infections, sports injuries, broken bones, and joint problems.

Why Would Someone Need One?

Orthopedists help people with problems such as:

They do such medical tests and procedures as:

What Is Their Training?

Orthopedist training typically includes:

  • 4 years of pre-medical education at a college or university
  • 4 years of medical school — a medical degree (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree
  • 4–5 years of training in an orthopedic surgery residency

They also might do a fellowship in a subspecialty area (for example, pediatric orthopedic surgery). A “fellow” is a doctor who had more specialty training after completing medical school and residency training.

Good to Know

Orthopedic care often involves a team approach. Other professionals on the team might include:

Date reviewed: September 2022