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Definition of Orthopaedics

Orthopaedics: The branch of surgery broadly concerned with the skeletal system (bones). This particular term is commonly misspelled. Orthopedics is how this field of surgery is listed under Physicians & Surgeons in the telephone Yellow Pages in Jacksonville, Florida. This spelling is quite common today. But it is actually incorrect, erroneous, flat out wrong. Orthopedics would relate the term to the foot because in Latin pedis means foot. Orthopaedics is not merely old-fashioned. It is the correct spelling. What was meant by the term orthopaedics when it was composed goes back to its roots: ortho-, straight + the Greek paes, child = the practice, literally, of straightening the child. If the child had a crooked spine (scoliosis), it was the job of the orthopaedist to straighten the child, not just the child's foot. That is why there is no American Academy of Orthopedic Surgery but there is an American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery! (And that is also why orthopaedists look after broken bones).

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=6957
Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2013

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