Medical specialty concerned with the skeleton and its associated structures. Orthopedists treat fractures, strained muscles, torn ligaments and tendons, and other injuries and deal with acquired and congenital skeletal deformities and the effects of degenerative diseases such as osteoarthritis. Originally dependent on heavy braces and splints, orthopedics now uses bone grafts, hip and other joint replacements, prostheses (see prosthesis), special footwear, and braces to enhance mobility. Orthopedics uses the techniques of physical medicine and rehabilitation and occupational therapy in addition to those of traditional medicine and surgery.
Learn more about orthopedics with a free trial on Britannica.com.