Orthopaedics is a surgical specialty that focuses on diagnosing and treating a range of problems involving the musculoskeletal system.
The musculoskeletal system includes your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles and nerves.
Orthopaedics cares for people of all ages, from newborns with congenital conditions to older people with arthritis.
Orthopaedics also covers trauma from - for example - a car crash, a fall, or a tackle during a rugby game. These can all cause injuries fractures (broken bones).
The most common orthopaedic conditions treated by orthopaedic surgeons are:
- severe osteoarthritis - joint replacement, where an arthritic or damaged joint is replaced with an artificial joint called a prosthesis
- fractures - broken bones
- torn or inflamed muscles, tendons and cartilage
- disorders of the spine
- trapped nerves.
Congenital and childhood bone disorders
The treatment of orthopaedic problems may involve surgery or non-surgical treatment. The orthopaedic surgeon will discuss your diagnosis and treatment plan with you. A rehabilitation plan may be recommended, including exercises or physical therapy to restore movement, strength and function.