An orthopaedic doctor is one who specializes in the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, ligaments, nerves, tendons and muscles, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Orthopaedic doctors are often surgeons. Some may specialize in a certain area of the body, such as the hip or spine.
Orthopaedic surgeons focus on four areas: diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and prevention. If surgery for a bone condition is necessary, an orthopaedic surgeon may recommend fusion, soft tissue repair, a joint replacement or osteotomy, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Fusion is when the surgeon basically welds the patient's bones together using a bone graft or other implement. Soft tissue repair may involve repairing torn ligaments or tendons. Joint replacements require the surgeon to remove a damaged joint and replace it with a man-made joint. Osteotomy corrects a bone deformity by cutting or breaking the bone and repositioning it to the right place. About.com notes that an orthopaedic doctor may undergo as much as 14 years of training to become fully certified in the field.