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Who is the best orthopedic surgeon in your area? A tough question that has no simple answer. Some people think it's the professional team physician, others believe it's the chief of the department. Often, finding the "best" doctor means finding someone you work well with.
November 8, 2006 at 12:22 pm
(1) Tom says:

I believe type of doctor this article is referring to is an orthopaedic surgeon (generally works with bones). This is different from an orthopedist, which is a foot doctor. This error is made all over about.com and should be corrected.

November 8, 2006 at 5:54 pm
(2) orthopedics says:

Actually, an orthopedist is a doctor who specializes in the musculoskeletal system (bones). The word ‘orthopedist’ comes from the Greek words ortho meaning ‘spine,’ and pedia meaning ‘child.’ Orthopedists used to treat “crooked children” who had problems including scoliosis. Now, orthopedists treat children and adults with all types of musculoskeletal problems. A foot doctor is called a podiatrist! This is a common mistake!

May 14, 2009 at 7:53 am
(3) Stickler says:

An orthopaedic surgeon, orthopaedics being the branch of surgery broadly concerned with the skeletal system (bones). Orthopedics is how this field of surgery is often referred to by those who think that the above spelling is overly difficult or simply old-fashioned. This spelling is quite common today. But it is incorrect, erroneous, flat out wrong. Orthopedics would relate the term to the foot because in Latin pedis means foot. Orthopaedics is not merely old-fashioned. It is the correct spelling. What was meant by the term orthopaedics when it was devised goes back to its roots: ortho-, straight + the Greek paes, child = the practice, literally, of straightening the child. If the child had a crooked spine (scoliosis), it was the job of the orthopaedist to straighten the child, not just the child’s foot. That is why there is no American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery but there is an American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery. And that is also why orthopaedists look after broken bones. Orthopedist would be a different specialization entirely.

May 17, 2009 at 6:07 pm
(4) orthopedics says:

Dear Stickler,

Your comments are appreciated, and your passion is admirable! But I would like to point out, that ‘orthopedics’ is not wrong, it is a matter of preference. I agree, most orthopaedic surgeons prefer the traditional spelling, and the AAOS does as well.

That said, orthopedics is the most widely used, and according to Merriam Webster Dictionary, the “Main Entry” for spelling is “Orthopedics”. “Orthopaedics” is listed as a “variant.”

While I agree, and use the ligature spelling professionally, most people use the perfectly acceptable spelling of “orthopedics,” as I do on this web site.


Jonathan Cluett, M.D.
Orthopedics Guide
About.com | Guidance. Not Guesswork.

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