Whether an active daily athlete or a “weekend warrior” sports enthusiast, the first instinct when experiencing joint pain isn’t typically to seek out a joint specialist. Yet, taking the time to find a board certified orthopedic surgeon can mean the difference between getting back in the game for good or the beginning of a long-term joint problem.
Why Board Certification Matters
Obtaining board certification is voluntary; surgeons don’t have to pursue board certification in addition to receiving their license to practice medicine. In fact, the process of becoming board certified is extremely rigorous and insists upon exacting standards; a board certified orthopedic surgeon represents a professional who is truly dedicated to excellence in his or her craft.
A board certified orthopedic surgeon must be a graduate of an accredited four-year medical school, and have also completed at least five years of a dedicated orthopedic residency program, the last two years of which need to occur within the same program. All of this time needs to be documented by the program director. These years of hands-on experience are followed by comprehensive written and oral exams before board certification is recognized.
Experience, Training and Abilities
While board certification is a great place to start, expertise should really be the deciding factor when choosing an orthopedic doctor. There’s a distinct advantage in going to a doctor who has performed the same procedure hundreds of times throughout his or her career. Far too many patients take the “MD” at the end of their doctor’s name as inviolable proof of experience. In reality, this is no guarantee. Take at least as much time to research your doctor as you did for the last car you bought. After all, you only have one body: you deserve the best possible care.