What to Expect at an Orthopaedic Consultation

What to Expect at an Orthopaedic Consultation

For those facing musculoskeletal issues such as joint pain, injuries, or arthritis, consulting an orthopaedic specialist is vital for accurate diagnosis and treatment recommendations. This article will walk you through what to expect during your first orthopaedic consultation, from the initial check-up to the diagnosis and treatment plan.

By Arete Orthopaedic Centre
Medically Reviewed by Dr Wang Lushun

When to Consult an Orthopaedic Doctor

Orthopaedic doctors specialise in diagnosing, treating, preventing, and rehabilitating injuries, disorders, and diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system. This complex system includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. Here are some things that warrant an orthopaedic consultation:

  • Chronic Pain: Persistent pain in your muscles, joints, or tendons that do not improve after a few weeks.
  • Difficulty Performing Daily Activities: Debilitating pain can interfere with the ability to perform daily activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, or carrying groceries.
  • Injury: Any musculoskeletal injury caused by an accident, such as a broken bone, dislocation, or severe pain and swelling.
  • Joint Pain: Joint pain, especially if it becomes worse at rest or at night, could be a sign of arthritis or another joint condition.
  • Limited Range of Motion: Any change in the range of motion of a joint should be a cause for concern. This may manifest as stiffness or pain when attempting to use the joint normally.
  • Soft Tissue Damage: This includes torn ligaments or tendons, as well as damage to other soft tissues that do not show improvement despite rest and physiotherapy.
  • Deformity: Any visible joint or bone deformities, accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Preparing for Your Appointment

Preparing for an orthopaedic consultation can help to ensure that your visit is as productive as possible. Here are some things to consider:

What to Bring

  • Medical Records: If another doctor has treated you for the same condition, or a related condition in the past; bring all relevant medical records, including X-rays, MRI scans, and other test results.
  • List of Medications: Prepare a list of all medications you are currently taking, including over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, vitamins, and supplements.
  • Health History: Be ready to provide a comprehensive health history, including past illnesses, surgeries, and known allergies.
  • Symptom Journal: If possible, record your symptoms, noting their frequency, duration, and any specific activities that trigger them.
  • Insurance Information: Bring your insurance documents and any necessary authorisation forms.
  • Identification: A form of identification such as an identity card or passport.

What to Wear

  • Comfortable Clothing: Wear loose, comfortable clothing during your visit, as you may need to move around for physical examinations.
  • Accessible Attire: Wear clothing that allows easy access to the affected areas. For example, if you are experiencing knee issues, consider wearing shorts.
  • Minimal Jewellery: You may need to remove jewellery for certain examinations or imaging tests, so leaving valuable or hard-to-remove items at home is best.
  • Appropriate Footwear: For concerns regarding your foot or ankle, opt for footwear that is easy to remove and put back on.

What to Expect During the Appointment

During your orthopaedic appointment, the doctor will attempt to diagnose your condition and recommend a treatment plan. Typically, this process involves the following:

Evaluation of Medical History

Firstly, the doctor will review your medical history. This includes an assessment of prior injuries or surgeries, chronic illnesses, symptoms, and current medications. They may also inquire about lifestyle factors, such as your level of physical activity and what might have led to your current condition.

Diagnostic Tests

Depending on your symptoms and medical history, the doctor may order diagnostic tests. These could include X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or blood tests. These tests help the doctor determine the cause of your symptoms.

Physical Examination

The doctor will focus on the affected area, checking for tenderness, swelling, warmth, or deformity. The goal is to accurately assess your range of motion, strength, function, and flexibility.


Once the doctor has gathered all the necessary information, they will discuss their findings with you, providing a clear explanation of your diagnosis. They will also discuss treatment options with you, which may include surgery, medication, physiotherapy, and lifestyle adjustments.

Personalised Treatment Programme

After you have received a diagnosis, your orthopaedic doctor will develop a personalised treatment plan tailored to your condition and lifestyle. This may include a combination of the following:

  • Physiotherapy: You may be referred to a physiotherapist who will guide you through exercises designed to improve strength, flexibility, and mobility.
  • Medication: Your doctor may prescribe medication to manage pain, reduce inflammation, or treat an underlying condition such as arthritis.
  • Surgery: In more severe cases, such as advanced degenerative diseases or complex fractures, surgical intervention may be necessary. This could range from minimally invasive procedures, such as arthroscopy, to major surgery like joint replacement.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Your doctor may recommend changes in your daily activities, like diet and exercise, to help alleviate symptoms and promote rest and recovery.
  • Assistive Devices: For conditions like arthritis or acute injuries, the doctor may recommend braces, splints, or crutches to provide necessary support while you recover.
  • Follow-Up Consultations: Regular follow-up visits will likely be scheduled to monitor your progress and make adjustments to your treatment plan.

If you are experiencing symptoms that require orthopaedic attention, do not delay seeking help. Contact us at Arete Orthopaedic Centre at 8772 6928 to schedule an appointment today.

Dr Wang Lushun
Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MBBS (S’pore), MRCS (Edin), MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho) (Edin)

Dr Wang Lushun is a Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon with over 18 years of experience. Formerly heading the Hip and Knee Division at Ng Teng Fong Hospital, Dr Wang is skilled in sports surgery, complex hip and knee replacements, and minimally invasive surgery, including advanced robotic surgery. Trained in the UK and France, Dr Wang is dedicated to providing comprehensive and effective orthopaedic care to all his patients.

Leadership on Orthopaedic Advisory Boards
Double Fellowships at Centres of Excellence
Senior Consultant with Over 18 Years of Experience
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