Orthopedic surgeons are specially trained in the surgical treatment of bone and joint problems that affect movement, like arthritis. Some surgeons specialize in disease of the hip, knee, or spine while others treat disease in several joints of the body, including hands and feet.

See Choosing a Surgeon for Total Hip Replacement Surgery


When to See an Orthopedic Surgeon for Arthritis

Surgery is a treatment option reserved for patients with particularly severe forms of arthritis, for whom conservative treatments have been ineffective. The goal of the various surgeries is to relieve pain and improve function while correcting the deformity that is creating the pain. There are several orthopedic procedures for arthritis, including joint replacement, arthroscopy, and osteotomy. The chosen procedure will depend on the specific condition and severity of disease as well as the age and overall health of the patient.

See Total Hip Replacement for Hip Arthritis and Knee Surgery for Arthritis

Training to Become an Orthopedic Surgeon

Orthopedic surgeons complete four years of medical school followed by five years of an orthopedic residency program at a major medical center. In addition, some surgeons may complete one to two years of specialized education in diseases of the hip, knee, spine, or other joints.


To obtain board certification, orthopedic surgeons must complete both oral and written examinations demonstrating mastery of orthopedic knowledge. Physicians then participate in continuing education each year to keep up to date with current skills and new technologies.

Dr. Marshall Emig is a physiatrist practicing at the UCHealth Spine Center, where he specializes in treating spine, joint, and sports-related pain. Dr. Emig has written several articles published in peer-reviewed journals, and he serves as an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Colorado.