Common Orthopedic Conditions and Disorders

Anything that is concerned with muscles, ligaments and joints is considered orthopedic. The most common orthopedic conditions include: Arthritis – Osteo and Rheumatoid; Fractures; Back and Neck Pain.

Most Common Orthopedic Problems

There are so many orthopedic problems it is almost impossible to list them. There are a few, however disorders and conditions are common and you will probably experience one or several of them at some point in your life.

  • Arthritis is a rheumatic disease that has symptoms of pain, limited movement, swelling and pain in connective tissues. There are almost 50 million people in the United States who experience some type of arthritis. Arthritis is a chronic condition and can progress slowly or at a rapid pace, and unfortunately many of the causes of arthritis are unknown.
    • Osteoarthritis (OA) is a type of arthritis that affects the joints in your body.  OA typically affects people who are middle age or older unless you have sustained a trauma to a joint which can cause early arthritis. It can occur in any joint and is very common in the hands, knees, spine, and hips. Often you will hear osteoarthritis termed as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease. It can be very painful and one of the more common forms of orthopedic problems seen in doctor’s offices.
    • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common type of autoimmune arthritis. It is triggered by a faulty immune system (the body’s defense system) and affects the wrist and small joints of the hand, including the knuckles and the middle joints of the fingers.  Treatments have improved greatly and help many of those affected. For most people with RA, early treatment can control joint pain and swelling, and lessen joint damage.
  • A fracture is the breaking/ cracking of a bone.  These are definite orthopedic problems. Open fractures or compound fractures are characterized by bone protruding through the skin or a wound that exposes the bone through the skin. A closed fracture or simple fractures is a broken bone that does not break the skin. There are many classifications for types of fractures including greenstick, spiral, comminuted, and avulsion fractures.
  • Experts estimate that as much as 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives. In fact, 31 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time. Low back pain presents from mild and annoying to persistent and severe. If you have pain in your lower back your mobility is restricted and normal functioning is disturbed.

Every bone, tissues and tendon in the body is a part of the skeleton system and a potential contributor to orthopedic conditions.

1. Jensen M, Brant-Zawadzki M, Obuchowski N, et al. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People Without Back Pain. N Engl J Med 1994; 331: 69-116.
2. Ibid.


Heather Benjamin