If your knee starts hurting during spin class or you feel a popping in your shoulder while you’re working out, that might be a good reason to see an orthopedist. “We are all used to occasional aches and pains that come and go, but pain that doesn’t resolve with the usual remedies or that is associated with other symptoms like joint instability or locking, numbness, or tingling may be signs that an orthopedist should be consulted,” Carothers said. Orthopedists also handle fractures of the extremities, spine, and pelvis, which sometimes involve surgery.
If you’ve never seen an orthopedist for a musculoskeletal problem, you’ll probably get an x-ray to start and get an overall evaluation of the afflicted bone or joint. Then the orthopedist will ask you questions, like when the pain or condition started and what might aggravate or alleviate it. You’ll also be asked about any previous treatments, your medical history, and what your daily activity looks like. “Many conditions have various ways of being treated, including non-surgical and surgical strategies, and your physician will likely go over the options with you,” Carothers said.