The Various Avenues of an Orthopedic Specialist
If you are thinking about becoming an orthopedic surgeon, or are about to undergo a procedure through an orthopedic specialist, you should know the different types of orthopedics. It is a very competitive field to get into, and you typically will not decide on a specialty until halfway through medical school and before applying to your residency.
The majority of orthopedic residents choose a specialty, with hand surgery being the most prominent. This would involve any hand pathologies, or surgeries involving the hand.
Another specialty you can engage in would be sports medicine. These doctors can be found as team doctors for major league and professional sports teams. You end up dealing with a lot of typical athletic injuries such as broken bones and torn muscles.
The next specialty that orthopedic surgeons can choose to do is joint replacement. Generally, this will be hip or knee replacements. Shoulder and elbow specialists see a lot of rotator cuff tears, commonly in people who work with their arms or play sports such as baseball. Finally, spinal surgery is a specialization in itself. This is different than a neural surgeon who works on the brain down into the spinal cord, not the bones themselves.
All of these paths will take many years of hard work and training, but knowing your options ahead of time can help you have a better understanding of your timeline and goals.