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Ask a Doc: When should someone see an Orthopedic Surgeon?

AAD RhodesOur answer comes from Dr. Anthony Rhodes of HMC Orthopedic Surgeons.

Question: When should someone see an Orthopedic Surgeon?

Answer: A person can see an orthopedic surgeon anytime that they have a problem with their bones, joints or muscles. However, a lot of these things can be treated by your family doctor fairly easily. So, it would be most appropriate to come and see us after you have already seen your family doctor but you are still in pain and need additional treatment. Then it would be time to see an orthopedic specialist.

We try to use non-operative treatments if at all possible and most kinds of problems that people come in to see us for can be treated, at least initially, without surgery. Alternatives to surgery include:

  • simply giving the injury time to heal on its own
  • use medications to control the symptoms, such as anti-inflammatory
  • restriction of activities to avoid the things that cause pain or trouble
  • physical therapy to help restore strength, mobility and comfort

Only after these alternatives have been exhausted do we consider surgery, such as a joint replacement.

For answers to more frequently asked questions about joint replacement surgery, watch the videos of Dr. Anthony Rhodes on our website at: To make an appointment with HMC Orthopedic Surgeons, call 413-536-5814.

‘Ask a Doc’ is a weekly post by Holyoke Medical Center. To ask a question, please feel free to submit to and we will do our best to answer it.

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