The field of orthopedics covers a lot of ground. Conditions you’ll want to see an orthopedic physician for include everything from pulled muscles, arthritic joint pain, soft tissue tears, and repetitive strain injuries to dislocated shoulders, broken bones, neck or back pain, and much more.
An orthopedic surgeon has specialized training and experience in treating simple to complex injuries affecting the bones, joints, muscles, and other soft tissue inside the body. This may include surgical treatments as well as more conservative options. In fact, most reputable orthopedic surgeons will not recommend surgery when a less invasive treatment could work.
Factors To Consider In Selecting An Orthopedic Surgeon
Should you require the services of an orthopedic surgeon, you’ll want to make sure you’re selecting the right type of orthopedic surgeon, based on your specific needs and preferences. The following are four main factors to consider when selecting an orthopedic surgeon.
1. Orthopedic Specialty
Because orthopedics covers the care and treatment of hard and soft tissue injuries throughout the body, it’s important to find an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in the area of the body you’re concerned about. If you’re not sure about the type of orthopedic specialist you may need, that’s okay, too. Sometimes, starting with a general orthopedics practitioner is the safest bet – and they can point you toward a subspecialist if needed.
Types of orthopedic specialties to look for include:
- General Orthopedics – Surgeons who work in the area of general orthopedics are especially skilled at treating a wide variety of orthopedic injuries and conditions.
- Joint Replacement Specialists– These orthopedic surgeons tend to focus on surgery to replace moderately to severely damaged joints, most commonly at the knee, hip, and shoulder.
- Hand & Upper Extremity Specialists – When you suffer an injury to the hand, wrist, elbow, or arm, this type of orthopedic surgeon can help. Hand and upper extremity conditions they treat include carpal tunnel syndrome, fractures, arthritis, tendonitis, trigger finger, ganglion cysts, and more.
- Foot & Ankle Specialists– There are so many different types of injuries and conditions that can affect the foot and ankle. Choose a foot and ankle surgeon for the best treatment and results.
- Neurological Care – If you suffer from headaches, neuromuscular or movement disorders, or aches and pains that involve the nervous system (brain-spine nerves), you’ll want a surgeon with experience in this area.
The good news is that, at Associated Orthopaedics in Kingsport, Tennessee, we have orthopedic surgeons in each of the above specialty areas.
2. Treatment Options Available
Another consideration as you decide on an orthopedic surgeon is to identify what types of treatments they offer. When you choose an orthopedic office that offers treatments that include noninvasive, minimally invasive, as well as a host of surgical options, you will simply have more to choose from. When you choose the least invasive treatment method necessary, it can mean less downtime for you and a faster recovery, and it’s often the easiest type of treatment to undergo.
Examples of noninvasive therapies include the use of braces, splints, or orthotics. Minimally invasive options might include corticosteroids or other injections that are sometimes enough to stop the cycle of pain. Even surgery has minimally invasive options – such as arthroscopy and other methods that address the problem while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue. Ask potential orthopedic surgeons what minimally invasive approaches might be right for you during your selection process.
Also, consider it an added bonus if the orthopedic surgeon you’re considering offers walk-in services for injuries that just can’t wait for a scheduled appointment.
3. Surgeon Experience & Credentials
When looking for a good orthopedic surgeon, you’ll want to check to see if they are board-certified. This means they have completed advanced education and training in a particular area. You can be sure these professionals have the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to treat certain types of injuries and conditions. Fellowships are another item to look for, which can also indicate a higher level of training in a specific area.
Depending on your particular interests, you may also want to choose an orthopedic surgeon with certain types of experience. For example, athletes or anyone interested in maintaining or optimizing their physical performance after an orthopedic injury may wish to find an orthopedic surgeon who previously served as a team physician for a professional sports team. This can ensure the surgeon you choose has the type of experience you’re looking for.
4. What Other Patients Say
It can help to hear from other people like you. An orthopedic surgeon should be able to provide patient testimonials that can give insight into what the experience was like for other patients like you.
Choosing an Orthopedic Surgeon in Kingsport, TN
If you live in Kingsport, Tennessee, or the surrounding areas, call Associated Orthopaedics at (423) 245-3161 to find out how one of our highly trained and experienced board-certified orthopedic surgeons can help you. You can also request an appointment now for a consultation with the exact type of orthopedic specialist you may need.