Orthopedic doctor discussing with senior patient; blog: What to Expect at Your Orthopedic Appointment

If you find yourself in need of an orthopedic appointment, whether due to injury or an ongoing medical issue, you have likely already experienced waves of uncertainty and worry. So, as you begin your road to recovery, we want you to know exactly what to prepare for and what to expect from the minute you walk into the practice, to set your mind at ease about your upcoming orthopedic appointment.

Three Steps Before Your Exam

You will be asked to show up early for your scheduled appointment time to complete some simple evaluations to prepare for your time with the provider. Three of the most common pre-appointment evaluations are:

1. Discussion of Past Medical History

After some general paperwork, you will meet with a historian who will ask you questions regarding your past medical history, social history (family history), surgical/drug history, and history of illness. The information you provide can help the doctor connect your current issue with past medical problems or trends. It will also help solidify his diagnosis and guarantee that you are receiving the best possible treatment. This aspect of your appointment requires little preparation, but you should bring a copy of your current medication list.

2. X-ray Examination

 Depending on the reason for your visit, you may need an X-ray examination. X-rays take place about 15 minutes before your appointment. They are extremely simple and will provide the provider with the crucial imagining of your injured joint, bone, muscle, or ligament. Make sure to wear comfortable, non-restrictive clothing to the appointment to ensure suitable access to the site of injury or ailment. (note: if the injury is anywhere on the lower body, wear shorts).

3. Pre-provider Assessment

Just before seeing the provider, a medical assistant will meet with you and inquire about your current condition. During this time, any treatment you have previously had for the injury or condition will be further discussed and you can provide any other pertinent information regarding your current issue. This step will ensure that the doctor has all the information he could possibly need to make a sound diagnosis and to establish a plan for treatment. Be sure, during this time, to share any pain, discomfort, or other possible symptoms you may be experiencing. Any of these could be linked to the issue and could grant the doctor a clearer insight into your condition.  

Orthopedic Physical Examination

Once the provider has reviewed your medical information, he will meet with you face to face. The majority of this time will be used to physically examine your injury or condition. He could assess anything from swelling to your range of motion, to reflexes, or even the condition of the skin. 

Your physician may ask you to walk around, stand up, bend down or up, or any number of other simple, physical tasks. All of this will help him determine the problem and the best treatment. The doctor will then discuss the issue with you and different treatment options, he may suggest DME (Durable Medical Equipment). In which case, you will be led to a separate room and fitted for a brace, splint, or cast that will aid in your recovery. Often, you and your provider will determine a course of treatment at the conclusion of the appointment and you will be well on your way to recovery. 

Following Up

After your appointment, you will be able to set up any recommended follow-up appointments or schedule your orthopedic operation based on your provider’s recommendations. During this time, you can address any additional questions you may have regarding your orthopedic appointment or your upcoming visits to the office.

Schedule a Consultation

The team at South Shore Orthopedics is home to a team of expert physicians who specialize in a wide range of orthopedic surgical specialties. All of our providers and staff members are committed to helping our patients live their most active lives. To schedule an appointment to talk about orthopedic physical therapy, call our office at (781) 337-5555 or complete this appointment request form.