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Definition: orthopaedics from Philip's Encyclopedia

Branch of medicine that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases, disorders, and injuries of bones, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.


Summary Article: orthopaedics
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Medical speciality concerned with the correction of disease or damage in bones and joints.

The first orthopaedic hospital was founded in 1780 at Orbe in Switzerland by Jean Venel. The first in England was founded in 1817.

There are six main types of condition treated in orthopaedic surgery. 1. Affections of joints caused by bacterial infection or by injuries such as fractures, bad sprains, or repeated minor injuries. 2. Affections of bone, similarly caused by infection or by injury such as fracture; the growth of bone may also be affected by certain disturbances of the endocrine secretions, by nutritional deficiency diseases, and by tumours. 3. Diseases or contraction of the soft tissues such as skin, muscle, and tendons near joints, which may cause deformity; gradual stretching will correct some forms of contraction. Infected or injured bursae (the lubricating sacs over the joints), are other frequent causes of deformities such as bunions and housemaid's knee. 4. Affections of the nervous system, including obstetric injury to this system, degeneration of nerve tracts, cerebral lesions, and poliomyelitis. 5. Deformities, most of which are static, and are mainly due to bad posture, include round shoulder, and hollow back. 6. Congenital affections resulting from abnormal embryological development; their causes are not fully known. Congenital club-foot, flat foot, dislocation of the hip, and affections of the vertebral column are amongst other congenital faults treated by orthopaedic surgery. Physiotherapy is one of the main aids to orthopaedic surgery.

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