Orthopedic doctors are physicians that correct functional or congenital issues of the bones. These doctors use surgery, bracing, and casts to help correct abnormalities. An orthopedist also treats bone injuries. So, now that you know what an orthopedic doctor does, how do you know when you should see one? Many times, your primary care physicians will refer you to an orthopedist if they believe that you need to see a specialist in that field. Here are a few reasons why your doctor may send you for orthopedic treatment.

Chronic Pain

When pain lasts longer than 3 or 4 months, it is often referred to as chronic pain. A few days of dealing with pain is not. However, if after several weeks you are still experiencing pain, a specialist is needed to help determine the cause and treatment to get you the relief you need.

Trouble With Movement

As we age, joint and pain discomfort becomes more common. However, this should not interfere with carrying out everyday activities. If you can no longer walk your dog, are having difficulty climbing stairs or doing other everyday activities, you need to see an orthopedic doctor.

Limited Range of Motion

Diseases, like arthritis, can make your joints feel tight. This can get worse as time goes by. If this joint discomfort gets worse and is limiting your range of motion, you need to see a specialist. An orthopedic doctor can diagnose your condition and assist you in treatment options to prevent the condition from worsening. While some conditions can't be cured, an orthopedist can assist in making sure you can move better with less pain.


While performing basic everyday functions, you should not feel wobbly or shaky. If you can't stand or walk without feeling unstable, this is a sign that you are having joint issues. It's best to see an orthopedist, so they can help determine what is causing the instability and help treat it. This can make you feel safer and allow you to continue to perform everyday activities.

Ongoing Injury

Injuries occur, like sprained ankles or a twisted knee, and most of the time, these injuries heal using some rest, ice, and heat. However, if the injury does not improve within a few days, you should see an orthopedic surgeon. Pain and swelling that last longer than 48 hours is a sign that there is a more serious issue going on.

Depending on your insurance, you can either call an orthopedic surgeon and schedule the appointment directly or get a referral from your primary care physician. Either way, it's important to seek treatment for any of the above issues.