When To See An Orthopedic Surgeon

What is an Orthopedic Surgeon?

Orthopedic surgeons and doctors specialize in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disorders of the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

Some orthopedic doctors or surgeons are specialists and focus on certain areas of the body, while others are generalists and can perform many types of surgeries and procedures.  Specialists can focus on:

  • Hip and knee
  • Foot and ankle
  • Shoulder and elbow
  • Hand
  • Spine

When should you see an Orthopedic Surgeon or Doctor?

If you have pain in your muscles, joints, or bones or experience pain, stiffness, swelling or other issues, you may not know whether to see a doctor or an orthopedic specialist. If you have any of the following symptoms, it’s recommended that you make an appointment with your physician to be evaluated first:

  • When you perform everyday activities, you have pain, stiffness, or discomfort that are preventing you from your usual level of movement
  • You are experiencing chronic pain (pain lasting more than 12 weeks)
  • Your range of motion has decreased
  • You experience instability or changes in your balance while walking or standing
  • You have a muscle or soft tissue injury, and it’s not improving after 48 hours

Here are some basic guidelines to help determine when to a doctor, and what type of doctor you should see:

You may want to see an orthopedic specialist if you have:

  • Pain in a bone, or joint, or pain in a muscle that started after an injury or accident
  • A tendon that is ruptured or torn
  • Instability in a joint or muscle, or a dislocation
  • Knee or hip pain which steadily worsens doesn’t resolve
  • Pain in your hip or knee that is worse during weight bearing activities
  • Hip, knee or elbow pain indicating arthritis
  • A diagnosis of osteoarthritis
  • Neck or back pain
  • Leg or arm pain that radiates (feels like nerve pain)

You may also want to see an orthopedic doctor if you’ve received an assessment that you may need joint replacement surgery or other surgery on your bones, joints, muscles, or tendons.


Look for a board certified orthopedic surgeon.  Board certification tells you the doctor has the experience, training and skills you can count on.  Check the surgeon’s medical school, make sure there are no malpractice claims, and research your orthopedic surgeon’s disciplinary history as well.

Have questions about this article? Do you have orthopedic issues? Our expert consultants at Taqtik Health are here to assist you:

To request a complimentary consultation simply contact us 

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