A physician who specializes in orthopedic surgery and who understands the musculoskeletal system. Orthopedists may diagnose a condition, identify and treat an injury, and provide rehabilitation. The orthopedist may have completed up to 14 years of formal education. After becoming licensed to practice medicine, the orthopedic surgeon may become board certified by passing both oral and written examinations given by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.
Many orthopedic surgeons choose to practice general orthopedics, while others specialize in certain areas of the body (such as foot or hand), or in a specialized area of orthopedic care (such as sports medicine or trauma medicine). Some orthopedists may specialize in several areas and may collaborate with other specialists, such as neurosurgeons or rheumatologists.