Orthopedics is a branch of medicine focused on injuries to the musculoskeletal system, including spine and joint injuries or deformities. There are multiple branches of orthopedics, including orthopedic surgeons, rheumatologists, physical therapists, orthopedic pediatricians. They work in small, specialized practices, in larger, less specialized practices, or in hospitals.
Orthopedic doctors treat broken bones, joint problems, like arthritis, and degenerative conditions, like osteoporosis. They also treat sports injuries, infections, congenital conditions, and tumors in the bones. The work depends on what specialty a doctor chooses, or by where they choose to practice medicine.
The education and training to become an orthopedic doctor lasts about 13 years, with eight years of schooling (both undergraduate and postgraduate), and five years of residency. During this time, an orthopedic doctor chooses a specialty to study. This could be a focus the bones of a particular body part, such as the hand, musculoskeletal oncology, joint replacement, or any of the other numerous branches of orthopedics.
The typical work week for an orthopedic doctor lasts 50-55 hours. Most of this time will be spent seeing patients, either in a clinic or in surgery. They may also be asked to consult on other cases. Some of this time will be spent doing paperwork or other administrative duties. An orthopedic doctor will also spend time reading medical journals, or doing other types of research, to keep up to date on the latest information about bone and joint care.