Orthopedics is the branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Muscles, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels, skin, and connective tissue are all considered parts of the musculoskeleton. Orthopedists treat conditions affecting the muscles, bones, joints, and related structures. They specialize in treating diseases of the spine, limbs, and joints; they perform operations on the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, wrist, ankle, foot, and hand.
Fractures occur when bone breaks due to trauma or disease. A fracture may involve only a small area of bone, or it may extend through the entire length of the bone. Common types of fractures include those of the arm, leg, pelvis, ribs, skull, and jaw. Fractures are classified according to their location in the body, type of injury involved, and whether the bone heals without intervention.
Arthritis is inflammation of a joint. There are two forms of arthritis: osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage deteriorates, causing pain and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis causes damage to the synovial membrane, which produces fluid that accumulates between the lining of the joint capsule and the joint itself. This thickens the lining, narrowing the space around the joint and making movement difficult. The most common symptoms of arthritis are joint pain, tenderness, swelling, and limited motion.