UnityPoint Clinic Specialties | Orthopedics
UnityPoint Clinic - Allergy


What is Orthopedics?

Orthopedics is the branch of medicine dealing with the correction of abnormalities of bones or muscles. The musculoskeletal system includes bones, ligaments, joints and tendons within the human body, as well as the muscles and nerves. Practicing proper exercise techniques and maintaining a balanced diet and healthy weight can help to reduce the risk of suffering from future orthopedic conditions or pain.

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and symptoms vary depending on the patient. A large portion of orthopedic problems are caused by an injury while a small percentage is congenital or existing since birth. Symptoms commonly occur within the back, neck, hip, pelvis, shoulders and/or knees. Common signs of orthopedic problems may include any of the following:

  • Difficulty using a particular body part to perform daily functions, such as walking up stairs
  • Pain in muscles, tendons or joints that have lasted longer than a few days
  • Swelling around the joints
  • Joint pain
  • Joint deformities

What is an Orthopedic Surgeon?

An orthopedic surgeon is a doctor who is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases or injuries of the musculoskeletal system, like the spine or joints. Standard procedures that orthopedic surgeons perform are hip, shoulder, knee and ankle replacement surgeries, as well as back surgery. There are many branches of orthopedics, allowing doctors to choose a specialty. Orthopedic specialties include:

  • Arthritis
  • Injury care
  • Joint replacement surgery
  • Sports Medicine
  • Pain Management
  • Back and spine surgery
  • Rheumatology
  • Physical and Occupational Therapy

What Does an Orthopedic Surgeon Do?

Orthopedic surgeons treat a variety of conditions and diseases like bone spurs, hammer toe, carpal tunnel, spinal stenosis, muscular dystrophy, osteoporosis, tendonitis and many more. Asking a patient to describe their symptoms and reviewing his or her medical history helps orthopedic surgeons diagnose the issue and determine the best approach for recovery. An examination of the joint(s) or areas causing pain is then performed. Orthopedic surgeons may use tests, including x-rays, blood tests or a joint aspiration to confirm a diagnosis.

Orthopedic surgeons also perform medical procedures or surgeries. Depending on the extent of pain or damage, treatment plans may be less invasive or may require major surgery. For less invasive procedures, orthopedic surgeons will make a small incision and insert a tiny camera and thin instruments into the joint, allowing the surgeon to repair tears and other joint problems without requiring the patient to undergo major surgery.

Orthopedic Procedures

  • Total knee replacement
  • Total hip replacement
  • Total shoulder replacement
  • Total ankle replacement
  • Surgery to repair fractures (broken bones)
  • Spinal surgery on neck and back (includes discectomy, laminectomy and spinal fusion)
  • Arthroscopic surgery (surgeon looks at joint, usually knee or shoulder, through a special camera)
  • Knee cartilage repair
  • Foot surgery (such as bunion removal)
  • Sports Medicine surgery
    • ACL/PCL repair (knee ligaments)
    • Biceps tendon repair (upper arm)
    • Achilles tendon repair (lower calf/heel)
    • Rotator cuff repair (shoulder)

When to see an Orthopedic Surgeon?

An appointment to see an orthopedic surgeon should be considered if you are experiencing pain that will not cease, diminished functions or damage around the joints. Anytime there is an injury to a bone, tendon, joint or nerve, visiting an orthopedic surgeon may be the best option. If you're unsure of why you're experiencing pain or do not know what treatment options are available, an orthopedic surgeon will find the proper treatment.

Benefits of UnityPoint Clinic Orthopedics

The orthopedic experts at UnityPoint Clinic are committed to providing our patients and families with the comprehensive orthopedic care they need. From the time of diagnosis through the recovery process and beyond, our board certified orthopedic surgeons and specially trained nurses and staff are dedicated to the health of you and your loved ones. The UnityPoint Clinic orthopedic team consistently provides the care, treatment and support you and your family can count on.