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When do you need to see an Orthopedic doctor?

When to see the orthopedic doctor?

Is that gnawing pain that you've been feeling for some duration of time in your shoulder, back or hip something to be concerned about?

In this article I’ll review some of the factors to consider when deciding if it’s time to come in and get checked out by an orthopedist.

Hey friends and patients, if you don’t already know my name is Dr. Edmond Cleeman. I'm an orthopedic doctor based in New York, and in this series of articles we will review exercise and orthopedic injuries. We will also explore strategies and tools that help us live healthier, happier, more physically active lives. 


You can click on the link below to watch my video.

Many people have common daily aches and pains. As one of my comedic older patients once said, “if there is a day that he wakes up and doesn’t have pain, that would be concerning, because it likely means he’s no longer alive and in heaven.”

So when is it time to see the orthopedic doctor:

  1. Trauma with significant injury.
    • I recently saw a patient that fell while snowboarding and could not lift their arm, but they had waited 3 months to come in to be evaluated. We found that they completely ripped off their rotator cuff tendon from the bone, which ideally would be fixed immediately after such an injury.


  1. Persistent pain.
    • When there is persistent pain without injury we recommend evaluation. 
    • It's common to have aches and pains and we know that they usually resolve over the course of a few weeks to a couple of months. Many home remedies like ice, anti-inflammatory medication and a few weeks of rest will resolve most aches and pains. But don’t let pain go on for extended periods of time. 
    • If symptoms go beyond 6 weeks it's a good idea to come in to be evaluated. Get it checked out! 
    • For example, I’ve had people with shoulder pain wait months to come in and because of the delay became very stiff, developing a frozen shoulder, which extended their recovery by many months.


  1. Weakness or numbness
    • Not all symptoms are pain. Some people can develop weakness, numbness or tingling in their extremities. These are typically neurological in nature and can indicate problems emanating from the spine. So I encourage you not to wait.


  1. Swollen joints
    • Some people develop swollen joints without a history of trauma or injury. Swelling without an injury may point toward a rheumatologic problem, such as rheumatoid, gout or lyme disease. These issues also should not wait, and are often cared for by rheumatologists.


  1. Masses / growths
    • Finally, and probably most concerning, is if there is a lump, bump, mass or growth that develops. These can be a concern for cancer and need to be evaluated immediately.


So there you have 5 tips to let you know when it’s time to come see the orthopedic doctor. If you fall into any of these 5 categories please contact my office for an appointment at 212-289-0700.
You can check out all my orthopedic and exercise content at my Youtube channel linked below.

Be active, be healthy, and live well

Edmond Cleeman, MD

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