Orthopaedic Care

Plymouth Orthopaedic and Sports Injury Clinic

The word “Orthopaedic” is derived from the Greek words, “ortho” meaning straight, and “paedic” meaning child. Essentially our modern musculoskeletal surgical practice originated in the treatment of children with deformities or injuries. Up until the early 20th Century, this treatment was often provided by traditional “bone setters” rather than medically qualified surgeons.

The carnage of the First World War was the stimulus for the evolution of modern orthopaedic surgical practice. Robert Jones is regarded as the founding father of British Orthopaedics. He revolutionised the care of injured servicemen, and his treatment protocols reduced the mortality of open fractures of the femur suffered on the Western Front, from 90% to 10%. The treatment involved application of a Thomas’ Splint, invented by his uncle, Hugh Owen Thomas, himself the last in a long line of Welsh bone setters!

In the days following The Great War, orthopaedics would principally have been concerned with treatment of fractures and deformity, but there was an interesting evolution of non-operative and surgical treatment for a variety of degenerative conditions. Further revolutionary change occurred in the late 1960s with the development of hip replacement by Sir John Charnley.

The demands of our patients, who are no longer willing to tolerate pain or dysfunction, the ingenuity of surgeons and engineers, the greater understanding of the functional anatomy of joints, progress in biocompatible materials and the development of modern anaesthesia have taken us to where we are now; essentially we have come to expect a return to good or normal function after injury, the correction of deformity, and the relief of musculoskeletal pain. In many cases modern orthopaedics can deliver these outcomes.

We probably stand on the cusp of a further revolution, that of bio-engineering. Almost weekly one reads of exciting new developments. We are not there yet, but in time our current range of metal and plastic implants will become history and we will be growing new joints from stem cells, and implanting biological replacements!

It’s all exciting stuff, but some of the foundations of orthopaedic practice will never change.

Essentially, for the patient with a musculoskeletal problem there are three requirements:

  1. Establishing an accurate diagnosis
  2. Understanding the implications of this, including the natural history of the condition.
  3. Developing a treatment plan.

At POSIC, we recognise than many orthopaedic conditions can be treated by your General Practitioner or Physiotherapist. However in more complicated cases, or when there is no response to treatment, the opinion of an experienced Orthopaedic Surgeon, will help to achieve our three goals.

Most importantly, this will involve a thorough Consultation with an Orthopaedic Surgeon who has a specialist knowledge of the problem that you have. Investigations such as XRays and scans may be required. Once the diagnosis has been established your surgeon can discuss the implications with you, and advise of the treatment options, and the risks and benefits associated.

At POSIC, we aim to use our expertise to help you to reach a fully informed decision about your care.