Accessibility Tools
Orthopedic versus Orthopaedic Surgeon – What’s the Difference?
Orthopedic versus Orthopaedic Surgeon – What’s the Difference?

Author: Amit Momaya, MD
Published on: 8/15/2023

Many patients are confused about the difference between “orthopedic” and “orthopaedic.” The terms "orthopedic" and "orthopaedic" are often used interchangeably, but there is a subtle difference between the two. Both terms refer to the field of medicine that deals with the musculoskeletal system, which includes the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. However, the spelling of the word "orthopaedic" is more common in British English, while the spelling "orthopedic" is more common in American English.

The original spelling of the word is "orthopaedic", which comes from the Greek words "orthos" (straight) and "paidion" (child). This is because the field of orthopedics was originally focused on treating childhood deformities. However, the field has since expanded to include the treatment of musculoskeletal problems in people of all ages.

In the United States, the spelling "orthopedic" is more common. However, there are still some professional organizations in the United States that use the spelling "orthopaedic". For example, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) uses the spelling "orthopaedic". This is likely because the AAOS was founded in 1887, when the spelling "orthopaedic" was more common in the United States. In addition, many academic centers in the United States still use the term “orthopaedic.”