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from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Diseases & Conditions



Staying Healthy

Is It Safe to See My Orthopaedic Surgeon During the Pandemic?

Jason Koh, MD

Jason L. Koh, MD, MBA, FAAOS

Any views or recommendations shared in the Ortho-pinions blog are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 

Your orthopaedic surgeon is able to help you in many different ways and can often do so without needing an in-person visit.  He or she is a medical expert who can help make the best decisions for your care, even in today’s unusual circumstances.

Many orthopaedic surgeons are now using telehealth methods to see and treat patients in the safety of their own homes.  Using either a smartphone or a webcam, your physician can see and talk to you, take a medical history, and perform a virtual physical examination by asking you to show where the pain is. You may even be asked to do specific movements while your physician carefully watches how they are performed.  In many cases, a diagnosis can be made by an experienced physician just by listening and watching carefully, and treatment can start with home exercise, medications, and even virtual physical therapy. 

There are some conditions for which patients do need to be seen, examined, and treated in person. Fortunately, it is still very safe to come to the doctor’s office.  As a result of their extensive experience in the sterile operating room, orthopaedic surgeons have a high standard of cleanliness and infection control, and orthopaedic offices are set up to allow for screening, social distancing, and the use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect patients. 

Additionally, patients who come into an orthopaedic office typically have bone, joint, or back issues, and are not actively ill.  Orthopaedic offices are physically separated from where patients with infection are located.  So, for many common orthopaedic issues, it is often easier and safer to be seen at an orthopaedic office, rather than at an emergency room.

Even during this challenging time, you should not hesitate to reach out to your orthopaedic surgeon to get the treatment that you need.  He or she will be able to provide safe and effective care.

Read more: COVID-19: Information for Patients

Last Reviewed

May 2020

Contributed and/or Updated by

Jason L. Koh, MD, MBA, FAAOS

AAOS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, or locate one in your area through the AAOS Find an Orthopaedist program on this website.