Orthopedics

Orthopedics and the Musculoskeletal system

The human body is a marvel of many different parts and systems that function together. One example of a body system is the musculoskeletal system. In the study of anatomy and medicine, every bodily system becomes a specialized subject of practice. The branch of medicine that deals primarily with the musculoskeletal system is called orthopedics.

Many people believe that orthopedics only concerns the bones of the body. However, the musculoskeletal system is an integration of many other elements such as joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and even nerves. Antioxidants are also important for the bodies functions.

It is also known as the locomotor system, since it is primarily responsible for the body’s ability to move from one place to another. Besides movement, the musculoskeletal system also provides form and stability to the body. It is an integration of two systems, skeletal and muscular, and it is sometimes easier to understand its specific functions when viewed as separate entities. The skeletal system is the very foundation of the body’s overall form.

Humans are born with as many as 300 different bones, which fuse together as humans grow to form 206 bones in adulthood. There are many different types of bones in the body that has different functions. Although, one of the main important purposes of the skeletal system is to provide a protective structure for all the vital organs of the body.

Another important function of the skeletal system is to serve as storage for some minerals in the body and also assist in the regulation of the blood stream’s mineral balance. The muscular system, on the other hand, functions to work with the skeletal system in movement, help maintain posture, and circulate blood throughout the entire body.


The orthopedic branch of medicine focuses primarily on the diagnosis and treatment of problems within the musculoskeletal system. Originally, orthopedics exclusively dealt with pediatric musculoskeletal problems. The focus on children was restricted to the correction of deformities with the use exercise, splinting, and manipulation.

Eventually, simple surgeries such as those involving the tendons were adapted to correct pediatric deformities, along with other methods such as the use of braces.

Orthopedics today has expanded beyond pediatrics to include patients of any age that needs intervention on a more diverse and broad list of musculoskeletal issues. Orthopedics has also expanded to utilize more modern surgical and nonsurgical techniques.

The focus of modern orthopedics is to move surgical procedures towards a less invasive process and to improve the functions and durability of implant components. Some of the more general problems involved in orthopedics include musculoskeletal issues due to trauma, degenerative diseases, infections, congenital disorders, tumors, and other accidents and injuries.

There are many different medical specializations in the field of orthopedics alone. General orthopedic practitioners deal with nonsurgical and nonemergency orthopedic injuries. These may range from minor injuries acquired from sports activities, management of arthritis, and many others.

Some other issues addressed by general orthopedic doctors involve carpal tunnel and leg or foot pain. Orthopedic surgeons, on the other hand, concentrate on specialized orthopedic procedures.

They focus primarily on replacement of joints, repair of nerves that have been damaged or compressed, and many others as well. Some of the more popular procedures in orthopedics involve arthroscopy, which involve inserting a device into joints such as the knee and shoulder joints in order to examine any damage more closely.

Meniscectomy is the removal of some or all parts of the meniscus, and laminectomy is the removal of all or some parts of the lamina, a vertebral bone.

These are other examples of orthopedic surgical procedures. Total musculoskeletal replacements such as hip or knee replacements are examples of more invasive surgical procedures. Repairs of fractures and debridement on many different parts of the body are also examples of orthopedic surgical procedures. Spinal surgeries are also orthopedic procedures that vary from minimally invasive such as in lumbar spinal fusions to vastly invasive such as in intervertebral disc surgeries.

orthopedicsThere are many other further specializations in orthopedics. Pediatric orthopedic surgery deals mostly with issues and treatments related to growth and development. Examples of these issues are scoliosis, or the curvature of the spine, and limb length discrepancies.

Pediatric orthopedic surgeons typically correct mild scoliosis with the use of braces, and on more serious cases, surgery may be warranted. Limb length discrepancies are usually corrected by the lengthening of limbs or replacement of missing bones as done by orthopedic surgeons.

orthopedicsAnother orthopedic specialization is emergency orthopedics. This branch mainly deals with emergency musculoskeletal issues that resulted from various activities. Examples include minor fractures, severe sprains or strains, dislocated joints, and other common injuries.

Surgical sports medicine is another area that orthopedics is closely related with as many athletes incur different types of musculoskeletal injuries due to whatever sport they participate in.

Orthopedics also deals with another prominent issue that comes about with growth and development and becomes more pronounced with age. Bone health is an important part of living a healthy lifestyle and orthopedic doctors help people in bone loss prevention, maintenance of bone density, and overall bone health.

The importance of orthopedics in the medical field is outstanding due to its comprehensive cover. The musculoskeletal system encompasses so much of the body, and proper care for it is absolutely necessary to have a completely healthy body and lifestyle. Orthopedics is medically relevant from the infancy stage to adulthood and geriatric stage.

The roles of orthopedic doctors and surgeons are crucial to a healthy and long-living community.