Orthopaedic Care: Knowing When to See a Surgeon

Surgery is typically an undesirable treatment option for most individuals due to its inherent risks and the extended recovery period it often entails. Consequently, orthopedic surgeons typically begin by exploring conservative approaches like physical therapy, medications, and injections to address musculoskeletal issues. 

Nonetheless, there are circumstances where surgical intervention becomes necessary to restore normal function. If you’re researching treatment options for your orthopedic condition and are curious about when your surgeon might recommend surgery, continue reading to discover common scenarios where orthopedic surgeons frequently advise surgical procedures. 

Immediate Surgical Need for Your Orthopedic Condition

While conservative treatments are typically the initial approach for most orthopedic concerns, certain conditions and injuries necessitate immediate surgical intervention. In these cases, conservative treatments are not viable options. Some of these conditions and injuries include:

  • Severe joint infections
  • Compound bone fractures
  • Nerve damage
  • Compartment syndrome

When Other Treatment Modalities Yield No Improvement

Given that we rely on our musculoskeletal system – comprising muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and cartilage – for virtually every activity, these components are susceptible to injuries and issues that can impede our daily routines. 

While many of these issues can be effectively managed with conservative treatments, there are instances where surgical intervention becomes necessary. Some of the injuries and musculoskeletal problems you may encounter include:

  • ACL tears
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Pinched nerves
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Tendon ruptures
  • Pitcher’s elbow
  • Tennis elbow
  • Achilles tendon tears

When you consult with your orthopedic surgeon for sharp pain and discomfort stemming from any of these issues, your orthopedic specialist will initially recommend non-surgical approaches such as medications, physical therapy, or stem cell therapy for treatment. 

However, if your pain persists despite several weeks of non-surgical treatment, your orthopedic surgeon will advise a surgical approach to address the issue comprehensively.

Challenges in Daily Activities

Musculoskeletal discomfort is a common experience for many of us and can intensify with age. Nevertheless, when this pain reaches a level where it significantly hinders your ability to perform basic everyday activities or even prevents you from doing them entirely, it’s advisable to consider consulting with an orthopedic surgeon. 

Instances such as the inability to walk your dog, difficulty rising from a chair, or the incapacity to use stairs may all serve as potential signals that a visit to an orthopedic surgeon is warranted.

Restricted Joint Mobility

Another issue that can arise concerning joints and necessitate consultation with your nearby orthopedic specialist is restricted joint mobility. This is characterized by a sensation of tightness in the joints, which can impede or even prohibit your ability to move them as freely as before. 

In certain instances, having limited joint mobility in specific areas can constrain your capacity to carry out routine tasks.


If you’ve sustained an injury due to a fall or impact that shows no signs of improvement beyond 48 hours, it’s advisable to seek consultation with orthopaedic surgeons. This becomes particularly crucial if you observe symptoms such as swelling, bruising, heightened pain upon pressure or movement, and diminished function in the affected region. 

These signs may suggest the presence of a potential fracture or a more significant soft tissue injury than initially perceived. In any scenario, obtaining an accurate diagnosis is beneficial to ensure appropriate and timely treatment.

Experiencing Unsteadiness During Walking or Standing

Unsteadiness is marked by sensations of wavering or lack of balance when standing, walking, sitting, or transitioning from seated to standing. The primary contributor to unsteadiness often stems from issues within the joints, where the muscles, ligaments, and bones surrounding or within the joint experience weakening. 

As a result, the joint bones lose their ability to maintain their natural position, leading to instability.

Restricted Joint Mobility

Another issue affecting joints that may necessitate a visit to your nearby orthopedist is limited range of motion. This can be characterized as a sensation of tightness within the joints, resulting in difficulty or an inability to move them as freely as you once could. 

In specific instances, having a limited range of motion in particular joints can impede your capability to engage in everyday activities.

Consider Having Orthopaedic Care

If you’re dealing with a musculoskeletal issue that may necessitate surgical intervention, don’t hesitate to seek consultation with empathetic orthopedic surgeons. These dedicated professionals will comprehensively assess your condition and deliver exceptional care infused with compassion. 

They offer a wide range of treatment options, both surgical and non-surgical, to address various orthopedic concerns and enhance the overall quality of life for their patients.

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