The bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, muscles, and tendons that make up the human body tend to be fairly durable. Even so, there are times when a sudden impact or changes within tissues can make it difficult to move without some degree of discomfort.
- You may be referred to an orthopaedic surgeon in Orange County for a knee injury
- An orthopaedic surgeon is a doctor specially trained to diagnose and treat various conditions that can affect any of the parts of the musculoskeletal system
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Confirming a Diagnosis
Your regular doctor may suspect you have something a little more serious than a muscle strain or sprain or they may see possible signs of osteoporosis or a herniated disc. For symptoms relegated to a certain area, as may be the case with bone tumors or progressive tendon damage, an effort will be made to rule out other possible muscle, joint, and bone issues. Based on your family history, your primary care physician may suspect a condition like muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy and refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon in Orange County for confirmation.
Making a More Accurate Diagnosis
Sometimes there is clear explanation for why you’re experiencing back pain or why an injury that healed long ago is suddenly causing frequent discomfort. Age-related changes to bones and muscles can also cause something like an abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis) to become troublesome later in life. Back pain, in particular, can be notoriously difficult to accurately diagnosis. You may have seen other doctors and specialists who made a diagnosis that was either only half right or off the mark. If this is the case, the goal of an orthopaedic surgeon is to perform further tests and present a more accurate diagnosis based on how and when you’re experiencing pain.
Customizing Treatment Plans
You’ve likely tried an assortment of treatments before coming to an orthopaedic surgeon in Orange County. These often includes some combination of over-the-counter and prescription medications and physical therapy. If you’re not experiencing significant relief from any of these efforts, you may benefit from a customized treatment plan based on a more accurate diagnosis. Just because you’re seeing an orthopaedic surgeon doesn’t mean surgery is going to be an option. Your suggested treatment plan may include options you haven’t yet considered, such as core conditioning to strengthen muscles that either directly or indirectly support the spine. You may also be taken off medications that are no longer effective or safe to continue taking.
Providing Urgent Care and Treatment
It’s not unusual to be sent directly to an orthopaedic surgeon if you’ve suffered an injury affecting any of your bones or soft tissues. For athletes of any skill level, this often involves sharp and sudden (acute) or progressive and lingering (chronic) knee, ankle, shoulder, or back pain. Tendon injuries, pulled muscles, and partially or completely torn or dislocated cartilage are among the other common sports-related injuries often treated by orthopaedic surgeon. Fractures and dislocations resulting from a fall or other traumatic impact can also be a source of severe pain and discomfort. Minor fractures may heal with bracing while more serious damage to bones or tissues may require surgery to remove bone fragments or reconnect ligaments, muscles, or tendons.
Performing Routine and Complex Surgeries
An orthopaedic surgeon performs a wide range of surgeries on patients to treat everything from severe damage to chronic or progressive conditions that haven’t responded well to other treatments. Common surgeries performed include arthroscopic procedures involving small incisions and special cameras and equipment and fusions to joint bones together in a specific area to increase stability, with spinal fusion being the most common form of this type of surgery. Surgery may also be necessary to repair damage to soft tissues or correct bone deformities (osteotomy). Arthritis may reach a point where joint replacement is required due to the level of degeneration (wear). Some patients also require revision surgery to correct previous surgical procedures. An orthopaedic surgeon also plays an active role in recovery and often makes rehabilitation recommendations.
Prepare for your visit to an orthopaedic surgeon in Orange County by being as descriptive as possible about your condition or particular discomfort. While issues such as a bone fracture may not require much input other than what can be seen on image tests, some musculoskeletal problems like arthritis and back pain don’t always have an obvious source. Make your visit even more productive by asking questions and playing an active role in putting together your treatment plan.