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What is orthopedics?

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Updated April 09, 2014

Question: What is orthopedics?
Answer: Orthopedics is the study of the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedic doctors specialize in diagnosis and treatment of problems of the musculoskeletal system.

What is the musculoskeletal system?
The musculoskeletal system includes:

    • Bones

    • Joints

    • Ligaments

    • Tendons

    • Muscles

    • Nerves
What does the word 'orthopedics' mean?
The Greek word 'ortho' means straight and 'pedics' comes from the Greek 'pais' meaning children. For many centuries, orthopedists have been involved in the treatment of crippled children.

Over the years, the field has expanded to encompass many subspecialties and the treatment of a wide variety of musculoskeletal disorders in patients of all ages.

How do you become an orthopedic doctor?
Becoming an orthopedic surgeon takes a little time, but orthopedic surgery is a terrific medical specialty, and the education and training is rewarding. It takes about 14 years of training to become an orthopedic doctor:

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