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When Should You See an Orthopaedic Surgeon?

Are you experiencing persistent joint or bone pain? Is joint stiffness keeping you from living your life to the fullest? It may be time to see one of our orthopaedics specialists. Our orthopaedic doctors in CT can help identify the issue and resolve your pain with proper treatment.

If you are wondering when to see an orthopaedic doctor, here are some things to consider and how the best orthopaedic surgeons in CT can help.

What is an Orthopaedic Specialist?

If you’re wondering what doctor to see for bone pain, an orthopaedic specialist is your best bet. An orthopaedic specialist is essentially a “bones doctor” who focuses on diagnosing and treating conditions affecting the bones, joints, muscles, and other tissues of the musculoskeletal system. Orthopaedic surgeons specialize in the surgical treatment of the musculoskeletal system.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the musculoskeletal system:

  • The musculoskeletal system comprises over 200 bones, supports your body’s structure, and helps it move.
  • Joints are where two bones come together to allow movement.
  • Muscles pull on the bones and joints to create movement.
  • Tendons attach your muscles to your bones.
  • Ligaments line the ends of the bones so that they do not grind against each other during movement.

What do Orthopaedic Specialists do?

Orthopaedic specialists treat several conditions. If you’re looking for a doctor for bone pain or joint pains doctor, an orthopaedic specialist can treat and resolve these issues – they’re your go-to doctor for bones and joints!

More than 150 diseases, conditions, and injuries can affect the musculoskeletal system and cause temporary (or permanent) pain and disability. Some musculoskeletal injuries and conditions orthopaedic doctors treat include:

  • Carpal tunnel syndrome. A repetitive use injury that occurs when pressure affects the median nerve, which runs from your forearm into the palm of your hand. Carpal tunnel causes pain, numbness, tingling, and a weaker grip in your thumb and first three fingers.
  • Tendonitis: Irritation or inflammation of the tendons that attach muscles to bones.
  • Muscle or tendon strains: The overstretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon.
  • Ligament sprains: Overstretching or tearing of a ligament
  • Rotator cuff tendonitis or injuries: Affects the muscles and tendons that hold the bones of your shoulder joint in place.
  • Degenerative disc disease: The breakdown of the rubbery discs that act as cushions between the bones of your spine.
  • Ruptured or herniated disc: Occurs when the gooey material inside the disc pushes through the disc’s tough outer shell.
  • Arthritis: A group of more than 100 conditions that cause redness and swelling of a joint.
  • Osteoarthritis: The most common type of arthritis, it destroys the cartilage at the ends of bones.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Chronic inflammation of the joints.
  • Fractures: Broken bones.
  • Osteoporosis: Weak, thinning bones.
  • Knee ligament injuries: Injuries to one of the four ligaments of the knees, including the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the center of the knee, the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in the back of the knee, the lateral collateral ligament (LCL) on the outer side of your knee, and the medial collateral ligament (MCL) that runs along the inner side of your knee.

Should I See a Rheumatologist or Orthopaedist?

Like many people, you might wonder what doctor to see for bone pain or joint stiffness. There are two types of doctors that focus on the musculoskeletal system: rheumatologists and orthopaedic specialists.

A rheumatologist and an orthopaedist both treat joint pain, but the two specialists address musculoskeletal problems differently. A rheumatologist is a doctor for bones and joints that treats musculoskeletal problems, such as arthritis, with medications.

You may see a rheumatologist if you have:

  • Pain in more than one joint.
  • New joint pain not associated with an injury.
  • Fever, fatigue, rash, morning stiffness, chest pain, and joint or musculoskeletal pain.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Recurring muscle aches or headaches and are over the age of 50.
  • Ongoing symptoms, such as unexplained sweating, fever, or weight loss.

An orthopaedic specialist focuses on surgical approaches to manage fractures, replace joints, and treat other musculoskeletal issues. The best doctor for bone pain depends largely on the type of care you need.

When Should You See an Orthopedic Doctor?

See an orthopedic doctor if you are experiencing:

  • Pain, discomfort, or stiffness that makes it hard to engage in everyday activities.
  • Chronic pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks.
  • Decreased range of motion, such as being unable to lift your arm over your head or having trouble bending or straightening your legs.
  • Instability while walking or standing.
  • A soft tissue injury that is not improving after 48 hours.

Our Connecticut orthopaedics can help you determine if you need surgery to correct the problem permanently.

What to Expect From Your Visit

Your visit with our specialists will start with paperwork regarding your symptoms, medical history, and insurance. You should also bring documentation from your primary care physician (if you have it) that details your past conditions and treatments.

Next, an orthopaedic doctor will review your medical history and ask questions about your symptoms. They will examine the areas causing pain, discomfort, or stiffness. This exam may include testing your range of motion and limb strength. Your joint specialist may order x-rays, MRIs, or other tests to help diagnose the problem.

Once the orthopaedic specialist has diagnosed the problem, they will create a personalized treatment plan. Treatment usually begins with non-invasive measures, such as oral or injectable medication, at-home exercise, and physical therapy. If necessary, they may recommend surgery if conservative measures do not resolve the problem.

Do You Need a Referral to See an Orthopaedic Doctor?

Many insurance providers require a referral to see an orthopaedics specialist. Fortunately, a referral is usually easy to get. Simply call your primary care provider and ask for a written referral.

Where Can I Find an Orthopaedic Doctor Near Me?

Searching the web for, “find a muscle doctor near me?” Our orthopaedic specialists are here to answer the call! Valley Orthopaedic Specialists has several providers that specialize in general orthopaedics, sports medicine, foot and ankle surgery, total joint reconstruction, pain management, and hand surgery. We offer specialty services in spinal care, fracture care, arthroscopic surgery, and even robotic-assisted joint replacement.

At Valley Orthopaedic Specialists, our team of orthpaedic doctors and surgeons are here to help you get back on your feet, pain-free.