John C Langland

At some point in their lives, many people require the care of an orthopedic surgeon: little children who fall down on elementary school playgrounds, high school basketball players who twist their knees, and elderly men and women with chronic leg pain. Each patient seeks the expertise of a specialist in orthopedic surgery—highly trained physicians who treat the diseases and injuries of the entire musculoskeletal system, from the neck down to the toes. Although considered specialists, orthopedic surgeons actually have a rather broad knowledge base and take care of a wide spectrum of disease.

Although orthopedic surgery implies that most problems seen within this specialty are treated surgically, this notion is far from the truth. In fact, despite the long years of surgical training, most patient care is nonoperative. Cutting and curing is indeed an important part of orthopedic surgery, but medical students should keep in mind that it is not the sole focus of this wonderful specialty.

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