What is a Bone Doctor?
A bone doctor is a specialist in orthopedics and there are many different specialties within orthopedics. Orthopedics is the treatment of bones and joints, whether you’re dealing with pain, injury, or disease.
Orthopedics comes from the root word “ortho” meaning “straight”. This applies to teeth in orthodontics as well. Bone damage bends our bodies out of shape, and bone doctors straighten us out. Different variables cause our teeth to be misshapen and orthodontists straighten us out. Other types of bone doctors include orthopedic surgeons and orthopedic oncologists.
Orthopedic doctors diagnose problems, determine a course of treatment, and support the improvement of broken, injured, or the diseased bone structure. Often, orthopedic doctors choose to pursue a subspecialty to specific areas, such as the spine, hips, or foot and ankle. While others choose to specialize in fields such as sports medicine, pediatrics, or trauma.
When to See a Bone Doctor
There are five questions to ask yourself to determine if you need to see a bone doctor.
- Do I have difficulty performing my everyday activities?
- Is my range of motion getting worse?
- Has my sprained ankle, injury from falling on my knee, or injury on my wrist from trying to catch myself, still painful after I’ve done the R.I.C.E. method AND it’s been over 48 hours? (If you haven’t heard of the R.I.C.E. method, it will be explained below.)
- Does my joint pain get worse as I rest?
- Has my pain lasted longer than 12 weeks?
If you’ve answered yes to ANY of these questions, an orthopedic doctor can help you.
An orthopedic doctor will always consider non-surgical methods of treatment before suggesting surgery. This may include physical therapy, massage, or injections. Only if all options have been exhausted will your orthopedic doctor choose to have you undergo surgery. If you have any questions about this, contact Dr. Cory.
- Achilles Tendonitis
- Achilles Tendon Rupture
- Acquired Flatfoot
- Ankle Arthritis
- Ankle Fracture
- Bunion (Hallux Valgus)
- Bunionette (Tailor’s Bunion)
- Diabetic Conditions
- Diabetic Ulcers
- Neuropathic Fractures (Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease)
- Fallen Arches (Posterior Tibial Dysfunction)
- Foot Fracture
- Hallux Rigidus
- Hammertoes/Claw Toes
- Heel Spur/Calcaneal Spur (Plantar Fasciitis)
- Morton’s Neuroma
- Osteochondral Fracture of the Talus
- Stress Fractures of the Foot
The RICE Method
In the case you’re unfamiliar with the RICE method, it’s an acronym for:
- Rest. As soon as you’re hurt, rest your injury for two days. Pain is your body’s way of communicating to you that something is wrong. If you avoid rest, you could make the damage worse and delay recovery. Avoid putting pressure onto the injured area for up to 48 hours.
- Ice. Ice reduces pain and swelling. Wrap a bag of ice, an ice pack, or frozen peas in a lightweight towel for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours for 48 hours.
- Compress. Compression is also a method to reduce swelling and bruising. Wrap the affected area with an elastic medical bandage. Do not wrap it too tight! This will disrupt blood flow and cause more damage. If you feel tingly, numbness, or cold, loosen the bandage.
- Elevate. Raise the injured part of your body above your heart to help reduce pain and swelling. It’s recommended to keep the injured area elevated as much as possible.
If your pain is not going away after this RICE method, it’s time to speak with a bone doctor. Speak with an orthopedic doctor now.
Your consultation with your bone doctor will start out with a series of detailed questions. They will cover your medical history, limitations, and pain levels (including your progressive pain). Additionally, he or she will ask about your overall health and any conditions you may have. This information will help your doctor determine which treatment method will work best for you and your body.
The next phase of your consultation will include a series of tests including your range of motion, flexibility, and reflex tests. Your orthopedic doctor will check the affected area for signs of swelling and symptoms of a condition. This is to narrow down possible conditions for a more accurate diagnosis.
Lastly, your doctor may utilize imaging tests to acquire more in-depth information. This can include X-Rays or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test. X-rays can reveal deformity, cysts, or incorrect alignment, while an MRI can catch early signs of disease. Utilizing all these methods in conjunction with one another helps your doctor to form a well-rounded plan of treatment.
What you can do during your consultation
Consider writing down all the questions you have and bring them to the consultation. In addition, bring a pen and notepad to the consultation so all answers can be written down and no details will be missed.