The title of “doctor” can be a confusing one. In an emergency, the first question people often ask is: “Is there a doctor in the house?” When you have a medical problem, the advice is always, “Ask your doctor.” Most people automatically assume that “doctor” in this context refers to a physician with a medical degree.
Orthopedists, dentists, chiropractors, and podiatrists are well-educated professionals who may also be addressed as “doctor,” but there’s no question that their training and specialization can be different. Today, a wide variety of other health care professionals obtain doctorate degrees in their respective fields — nurses, pharmacists, physical therapists, and audiologists, to name a few. So how is a patient to know if people who introduce themselves as “doctor” are actually physicians? It can be confusing, and it’s certainly understandable if the public has a hard time keeping track of the differences between the different types of education and degrees.
There is no specific name for a doctor that focuses only on knee problems. However, the closest to it would be an orthopedist. Orthopedic surgeons are specially trained in the needs of the musculoskeletal system. This system of the body includes the bones, ligaments and joints. Orthopedic surgeons often focus on the treatment of bone and joint problems that affect movement, like arthritis. Some surgeons specialize in disease of the hip, knee, or spine, while others treat diseases in several joints of the body, including the hands and feet.
Orthopedic surgeons complete the four years of medical school standard for a medical degree, followed by five years of an orthopedic residency program. In addition, some surgeons may complete one to two years of specialized education in diseases of the hip, knee, spine, or other joints – often called a fellowship.
A person who has a knee problem should generally be referred to an orthopedic specialist to ensure that their knee issue is properly taken care of by a trained professional who is able to better understand the knee than a general practitioner. This type of specialist will also be able to help identify whether there are more underlying problems that could be causing knee issues.
An orthopedic doctor is generally able to examine patients to help determine what is causing knee trouble. The doctor will often include a physical examination and will be able to perform certain tests that will enable the determination and diagnosis of any possible conditions. An orthopedic doctor will be able to treat your knee problem, using physical therapy, medication or even surgery. Orthopedic doctors can also help rehabilitate their patients while helping them to prevent the knee problem from occurring again.
To learn more about a knee doctor and what they may be able to do for you, call the office of Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment, or use our online request form.