What’s An Orthopedic Doctor and What Do They Do?


In the United States, there are approximately 25,500 practicing orthopedic doctors. But what do orthopedic doctors do?

Orthopedic doctors are responsible for keeping the foundation of our body healthy. They also know how to treat various bodily conditions. Continue reading to find out more about orthopedic doctors.

What Are Orthopedic Doctors?

Orthopedic doctors specialize in diseases and conditions of the musculoskeletal system. Their knowledge varies from the bones to the nerves in your body. There are specialties such as a pediatric orthopedic doctor and an orthopedic knee doctor.

Here are some daily tasks of an orthopedic doctor:

  • Diagnose patients
  • Create treatment plans
  • Assist with patient rehabilitation
  • Work in injury prevention

What Are the Responsibilities of an Orthopedic Doctor?

Orthopedic doctors are responsible for treating various medical conditions of the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic doctors like Travis R. Liddell M.D. treat conditions such as:

  • Muscle strains
  • Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Bone cancer

Often musculoskeletal conditions have a nonsurgical treatment plan. Orthopedic doctors can treat some conditions through medication or exercise. Each treatment is dependent on the severity of the condition.

If the condition is severe, they are able to conduct surgery for treatment. These surgeries can range from joint replacement to soft tissue repair. That is why they are often referred to as orthopedic surgeons.

How to Become an Orthopedic Doctor

To become an orthopedic doctor, you need to get a bachelor’s degree. Additionally, you will need to complete four years of medical school.

After completing medical school, you will have to complete a residency program. Residency programs take anywhere from 3 to 9 years to complete.

If you want to specialize in orthopedic surgery, you will need to complete a fellowship. Fellowships take 1 to 3 years to complete.

After your residency program, you will need to pass the US Medical Licensing Examination. The US Medical Licensing Examination will allow you to become a board-certified surgeon.

Job Outlook for Orthopedic Doctors

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics shows an expected job growth between 2020 through 2030. Throughout the decade, there is an expected 3 percent growth rate. Each year, there will be 22,700 job openings for orthopedic doctors.

Work Environment of an Orthopedic Doctors

All orthopedic doctors work full-time at their facility. Most orthopedic doctors work more than 40 hours on average. These include overnight shifts and irregular hours.

There are many settings an orthopedic doctor can work in. They can work in clinics or hospitals.

Some orthopedic doctors travel between the hospital and their office. This is common for emergency cases at hospitals. You will have to be on call for these cases that may arise at any moment.

Find Out More About Orthopedic Doctors

We hope you gained more information about what an orthopedic does. Orthopedic doctors have a variety of responsibilities and expectations in their career field.

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