What does an orthopaedic doctor do?

Orthopaedics is the branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal system (joints, bones, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and muscles).

The musculoskeletal system in the human body helps you to move and perform other everyday activities such as walking, jumping, and moving the body.

Diagnose and treat orthopaedic conditions

Common conditions that orthopaedic specialists treat include bone fractures; osteoarthritis; soft tissue (ligament, tendon, muscle) injuries; neck, back, and shoulder pain; congenital conditions (scoliosis, clubfoot); bone cancer.

A common treatment to treat sports injuries is by using the RICE method to relieve pain, swelling, and speed up the healing process.

  • Rest: Rest allows you to take a break from the activity that caused the injury.
  • Ice: Use cold packs on the injury for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
  • Compression: Use an elastic compression bandage to prevent additional swelling.
  • Elevation: Recline when you rest and put your leg up higher than your heart.
Perform surgical and non-surgical treatments and procedures

Surgical treatments such as total hip replacement, total knee replacement (TKR), arthroscopy (keyhole surgery), carpal tunnel release, trigger finger release, corrective spine osteotomy, lumbar discectomy, laminectomy, etc are performed depending on the type of orthopaedic condition.

Not every musculoskeletal condition requires surgery. Non-surgical treatments intervention such as physiotherapy (TENS, warm compression, stretching exercises, nerve gliding exercise) may be suggested as well.

Pain management

Minimally invasive procedure such as local / trigger point injection, PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma), and Radiofrequency Ablation can be used for pain management.

What conditions do orthopaedic doctors treat?

An orthopaedic doctor specialises in diagnosing and treating the following common conditions.

  1. Arthritis
    Arthritis is a condition when one or more of the joints are inflamed. Generally, arthritis occurs among adults but in rare cases, children are affected as well. There are several types of arthritis such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and septic arthritis.
  2. Bone tumours
    An abnormal growth of cells within a bone. A bone tumour may be cancerous (malignant) or noncancerous (benign). When bone cells start to divide abnormally and uncontrollably, they can form a mass or lump of tissue. Depending on the condition, bone tumours can be surgically removed and treated.
  3. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition that causes numbness, and tingling sensation in your hands and fingers. Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve is compressed and entrapped. If carpal tunnel syndrome is left untreated for an extended period of time, it can worsen and cause dysfunction of the hand, including loss of sensation in the fingers.
  4. Osteoporosis
    Osteoporosis is a disease characterised by a reduction in bone density and bone mass. This would not only decrease bone strength but can lead to low impact trauma fractures (broken bones). Most common osteoporotic fractures occur in the hip, vertebra (spine bone) and wrist.
  5. Chondromalacia Patellae (CMP)
    Chondromalacia patella is a breakdown of the articular cartilage on the underside of the kneecap. Since articular cartilage does not contain nerves, it cannot directly cause pain if it is damaged. However, it may result in pain due to injury to the underlying subchondral bone and synovial inflammation. It can be due to direct trauma to the joint articular surface or sports injury.
  6. Sciatica
    Sciatica occurs when there is pain in the lower back or hip which will then radiate to the thigh and legs. It is a type of nerve pain and usually affects the lumbar spine when it is compressed. The condition typically heals itself, however, non-surgical treatments are used to help manage the pain.
  7. Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
    Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis refers to pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow caused by inflammation of one of the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the elbow. The forearm muscles and tendons become damaged from overuse. Pain can be felt in the forearm.
  8. Spine conditions
    Spine conditions include disc degeneration (intervertebral disks tend to wear and shrink), degenerative spondylolisthesis (difficulty for the spine to be in correct position), spinal stenosis (spinal cord narrows and adds pressure on the cord and spinal nerves), and scoliosis (abnormal curve of the spine).
  9. Archilles Tendonitis
    The Achilles tendon is the large tendon in the back of the ankle that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone. These muscles are essential for walking, running, and jumping. The Achilles Tendon withstands a great deal of stress during normal daily life. Achilles Tendonitis occurs when the muscles and tendon are overused, causing irritation and inflammation of the tendon.
  10. Sports Injuries & Trauma

    Sports injuries occur while playing sports or exercising. Sports injuries can result from accidents, poor training practices, inadequate equipment, and overuse of a body part. Not warming up or stretching enough before play or exercise can also lead to injuries.

    Some of the common sports injuries include sprains and strains, ligament (ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL) tears, meniscus tear rotator cuff injuries, fractures, dislocations, tendon tear.


    • Closed fractures (broken bone that does not puncture the skin)
    • Open fractures (broken bone that punctures the skin)
    • Stress fractures (small cracks in the bone due to repetitive active or overuse)
    • Dislocation (a joint forced apart and out)
    • Overuse injuries

When to visit an orthopaedic doctor?

Consider making an appointment with an orthopaedic specialist if:

  1. You experience joint discomfort that causes difficulty in performing daily tasks and activities.
  2. You are suffering from chronic pain that seems to last for weeks.
  3. You range of motion seems to be getting more limited.
  4. You feel wobbly or unstable when you stand, walk, or sit.
  5. You experience pain and numbness over part of your body that wake you up at night.

Book an appointment at Pantai Hospitals

A dedicated and expert team of Orthopaedics specialists at Pantai Hospital is available for consultation to provide the best care and assistance.

If you encounter a situation that requires medical attention, please seek immediate medical attention at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at your nearest Pantai Hospital.

Learn more about bone and joint health and Orthopaedic services at Pantai Hospitals.

Pantai Hospital has been accredited by the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) for its commitment to patient safety and service quality.

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