The tricky thing about orthopedic injuries is that you can ignore minor ones for a while before they cause serious disruptions to your daily routine. Many people will suffer with mild pain from dislocations, sprains and other injuries before wondering, “When should I see an orthopedic doctor?” If you are suffering with symptoms from an orthopedic injury, you may find relief when you see an orthopedic doctor, and the sooner you receive treatment, the sooner you regain comfort and mobility.
What Does an Orthopedic Doctor Do?
If you have never visited one before, you’ll want to know what exactly an orthopedic doctor does. Orthopedic doctors and surgeons specialize in diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for musculoskeletal conditions. This includes anything that affects your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles or nerves.
At Greater Regional Health, our orthopedic physicians also specialize in sports medicine. This means they are trained to work with athletes and teams to prevent and treat injuries.
Conditions & Injuries Treated by Orthopedic Doctors
There are a number of common orthopedic conditions and disorders you can see an orthopedic doctor for. These include, but are not limited to:
- Carpal tunnel
- Tennis elbow
- Muscle tears
- Broken or fractured bones
- Hip dysplasia
Our orthopedic specialists at the Greater Regional Health Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Clinic have specialized knowledge and experience with a number of orthopedic issues and procedures including joint repairs and replacements, carpal tunnel surgery, sports injuries, and trauma and fracture surgeries.
Signs You Should See an Orthopedic Doctor
If you have been coping with nagging pain for a while now, it may be time to make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor. Ignoring pain or other symptoms of an orthopedic issue or injury can cause your condition to worsen over time. You don’t want to get to a point where you are unable to perform daily tasks because of pain or immobility. We all live with aches and pains, but if you have symptoms that are starting to impact your daily routine, think about seeing an orthopedic doctor.
Common signs you should see an orthopedic doctor include but are not limited to:
- Difficulty climbing stairs
- Joint pain
- Limited range of motion
- Chronic joint pain
- Pain when performing everyday tasks
- Worsening pain after an injury or accident
- Swollen joints
- Numbness or tingling in hands
- Repeated sprains in one area
Do You Need a Referral to See an Orthopedic Doctor?
Depending on your health insurance plan, the medical facility and the doctor you want to see, a referral may be required in order to schedule an appointment. If you feel you have a symptom or condition that may be diagnosed and treated by an orthopedic doctor, your primary care physician can refer you. In many cases, a referral is not required in order to make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor.
At Greater Regional Health, our primary care physicians work closely with the Orthopedics Clinic to provide comprehensive care. However, people are welcome to reach out to speak with an orthopedic doctor directly without a referral, as well.
What to Expect at Your Orthopedic Appointment
If you are ready to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic doctor, we have some tips for how to prepare and what to expect. Before you see an orthopedic specialist, it is a good idea to keep a log of your pain and symptoms. The doctor will want to discuss when the pain began, the initial incident or accident that caused the pain and any activities or actions that cause more pain. You may be asked to describe your pain and sensations, including where it hurts, when it hurts and how much it hurts. It can be helpful to give a general description of your health because an orthopedic doctor may be able to find connections that don’t seem obvious to you.
The amount of time an appointment takes can vary depending on a number of factors. After you provide information about your symptoms, an orthopedic doctor may use a few different diagnostic techniques and tools in order to figure out the cause of your problem and the best treatment plan. They will do some physical tests with the affected area to look at swelling, range of motion and reflexes. Lastly, the doctor may want to perform an x-ray or MRI to see if there is an internal issue, like a fracture.
Because an orthopedic appointment will likely include examination and physical movement, it is important to wear loose, comfortable clothing that is not restrictive, and the affected area should be easily accessible. If your doctor is going to look at your knee, for example, you should wear shorts or pants that can be rolled up.
If you have symptoms resulting from an orthopedic condition or injury, schedule an appointment with a Greater Regional Health Orthopedic Specialist today!