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Orthopedic trauma is a subspecialty that deals with a broad range of acute bone, joint, and soft-tissue injuries caused by a traumatic incident, such as a car accident or a fall (this differentiates trauma from chronic conditions, such as degenerative hip pain or long-term back pain). These can range from minor fractures and muscle strains to serious or even life-threatening injuries.
When an orthopedic surgeon specializes in this area, it means he or she has received extensive additional training in the rapid and accurate diagnosis of acute musculoskeletal injuries. In addition, a trauma specialist will generally have more experience with these types of injuries, which when combined with the additional training, can mean a better outcome for the patient.