How to Become an Orthopedic Specialist in Sports Medicine?

There’s a rising demand in the orthopedic field. As people commit to lead healthier lives, they are becoming more active. Whether its exercise, sports, or recreational adventures, people are making a commitment to extending their lives. 

Orthopedic surgeons are doctors who help make that happen. By focusing on the musculoskeletal system, orthopedic surgeons are capable of helping people move better, so that they may lead healthier and more fulfilling lives. 

As with many doctors, orthopedic surgeons have a variety of areas in which they may specialize in, such as sports medicine, or shoulder and elbow surgery. To become an orthopedic surgeon requires a tremendous amount of education as well as ongoing learning. 

The field is an exciting one, equipped with a lot of opportunities to help people lead the best lives possible. If you’re considering a career in orthopedic surgery, read below to find more information about this exciting career path. 

What is an Orthopedic Surgeon? 

Orthopedic surgeons focus on the musculoskeletal system in the body. Providing support, flexibility, and aiding in the movement of the body, the musculoskeletal system is one of the most vital structures. 

Orthopedic surgeons typically operate on patients who suffer from musculoskeletal problems such as sports injuries, bone and tissue ailments, and congenital deformities. 

The musculoskeletal system is made up largely of bones, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and tendons. Orthopedic surgeons study every aspect of the musculoskeletal system, many, however, decide to specialize in specific areas such as the shoulder and elbow or spine. 

Other specializations for orthopedic surgeons include sports medicine, oncology, and pediatrics. In fact many orthopedic surgeons end up becoming a sports medicine doctor, working with athletes and teams in both professional and college sports. Orthopedic surgeons treat patients through a mixture of surgical and nonsurgical methods. 

Educational Requirements 

As with any other position in the medical field, orthopedic surgeons require extensive education and training. To practice orthopedic medicine requires 8-10 years of postgraduate education, not to mention ongoing education and training. 

Prospective orthopedic surgeons embark on this incredible journey in undergraduate education, where a degree in pre-medicine, biology, or other medical related fields is required. 

After college, potential surgeons enter a residency in orthopedic surgery at a hospital, for the next four or five years. While in residency, students focus on general surgery in the first year, while the remaining years concentrate on orthopedic specialties. Once residency is completed, surgeons wishing to specialize further into pediatric orthopedics or sports medicine must complete a one or two-year fellowship. 

Certification and Licensing Requirements 

Orthopedic surgeons, like all doctors in the United States, must be licensed in order to practice medicine legally. In order to practice, prospective doctors must pass a strenuous test named the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination. 

The test is administered in several parts, sometimes while students are still participating in residences. Additionally, orthopedic surgeons must also pass the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery’s exam in order to be certified. After which, recertification is required every seven to 10 years. 

While the requirements are stringent, the career is rewarding, many orthopedic surgeons are happy about helping people move better and feel better. Improving people’s lives is the number one focus of medicine.