Orthopedic Surgeons and Workers’ Compensation: What You Need to Know

Many Workers’ Compensation Injuries involve the Musculoskeletal System. Orthopedics is a field of medicine which is involved in the treatment of musculoskeletal medical problems. This article will discuss the field of Orthopedics, what fields they cover, and how it relates to musculoskeletal work injuries and Board Certification.

What Is the Field of Orthopedics?



The Orthopedics’ field is varied. The field of Orthopedics treats musculoskeletal diseases and injuries.  Medical Treatment provided from Orthopedists can include medications, prescriptions for various forms of physical therapy, prescriptions of various durable medical equipment, injections, i.e. epidurals or trigger point, and surgery.

Orthopedic Doctors perform physical evaluations and can diagnose a variety of medical conditions.

What Are the Areas of Practice Within Orthopedic Surgery?


With respect to Workers’ Compensation, the areas of Orthopedics that are of interest are Arthroscopy and Arthroscopic Surgery, Foot and Ankle, Hand Surgery, Joint Replacement and Surgery in Arthritis, Musculoskeletal Oncology, Shoulder and Elbow, Rehabilitation, Spine, Sports Medicine, and Trauma and Fractures. There is also Pediatric Orthopedics.

Can Orthopedic Doctors Act as Qualified Medical Evaluators? In What Specialties?


Yes. Orthopedists act as Qualified Medical Evaluators within the California Workers’ Compensation System.   They also frequently act as Agreed Medical Evaluators as well. There are a variety of QME Specialties in which an Orthopedist may be an evaluator.  These specialties include Hand Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Spine, Surgery, and Thoracic Surgery.

What Is Sports Medicine Orthopedics and How Does It Relate to Workers’ Compensation?


Sports Medicine Orthopedics focuses on the treatment of injuries which are related to athletic activities.

In California Workers’ Compensation, there are a number of employees who are athletes who sustain industrial injuries. Professional Sporting Teams in California include the Lakers, the Dodgers, the Giants, the Rams, the Chargers, the Padres, the Angels, the Kings, the 49ers and the Sharks. Also, there are Jockeys who race horses at various facilities.

There are many California based Orthopedic Surgeons who have made their reputations based upon their treatment of injured athletes.  Two of the most outstanding doctors who you might know who are and were Orthopedic Sports Medicine Doctors are Dr. Robert Watkins (who has treated athletes such as Peyton Manning and Troy Aikman) and Dr. Frank Jobe (who performed the first “Tommy John” surgery.)

What Is Adult Reconstructive Surgery Orthopedics and How Does It Relate to Workers’ Compensation?



Adult Reconstructive Surgery Orthopedics involves the treatment of individuals with advanced arthritis and other conditions which affect major joints.   This specialty includes medical treatment which can include joint replacement and other procedures.

In California Workers’ Compensation, there are a number of work injuries that involve the need for joint replacements.  Joint Replacements can include knee replacements, hip replacements, and total shoulder replacements.

In California Workers’ Compensation Law, the need for replacements can be the result of an Elderly Worker being injured or an Injured Worker who has lifetime medical and their joint condition has progressed to a point upon which joint replacement is indicated.

What Is Foot and Ankle Orthopedics And How Does It Relate To Workers’ Compensation?


Foot and Ankle Orthopedics treats the foot and ankle.  There are a variety of injuries and diseases to the ankles and feet for which Orthopedic Doctors provided treatment.

In California Workers’ Compensation Law, there are a number of Injured Workers who sustain injuries to the foot and ankle.  These injuries, at times, can require surgery.

What Is Hand Surgery Orthopedics and How Does It Relate to Workers’ Compensation?


Hand Surgery Orthopedics treat hand and wrist conditions both surgery and non-surgically.

In California Workers’ Compensation, Hand Surgery Orthopedics commonly treat both specific and cumulative trauma injuries.   One of the most common wrist surgeries is a Carpal Tunnel Release.

What Is Shoulder And Elbow Orthopedics And How Does It Relate To Workers’ Compensation?


Shoulder and Elbow Orthopedists treat diseases and injuries of the shoulder and elbow.

In California Workers’ Compensation, there are many Injured Workers who sustain injuries both as specific injuries and cumulative trauma to the shoulders and elbow.   Common shoulder surgeries that are work-related include rotator cuff surgery. Common elbow surgeries that are work-related include ulnar nerve transpositions.

What Is Spine Surgery Orthopedics and How Does It Relate To Workers’ Compensation?


Spine Surgery Orthopedics involve surgical and non-surgical treatment of deformities, injuries, and disorders of the spine.   This includes the back and neck.

In California Workers’ Compensation Law, Injured Workers have both specific injuries and cumulative trauma injuries which impact the neck and back.  Work-related surgeries can include laminectomies and fusions.

What are Trauma and Fracture Orthopedic Work Injuries and How Does It Relate To Workers’ Compensation?


Trauma and Fracture Orthopedics involves treatment of injuries to the bones, joints, muscles, tendons, nerves, and vessels in the arms, legs, back, and neck.

In California Workers’ Compensation Law, there are many Workers who suffer from Orthopedic Work Injuries injuries as a result of a trauma that occurs in the workplace.  It can involve a worker at a construction site that falls off of a roof.  These doctors perform a variety of types of surgeries to stabilize and repair the damages from the trauma.

What Is Musculoskeletal Oncology Orthopedics and How Does It Relate to Workers’ Compensation?


Musculoskeletal Oncology Orthopedics involves treatment of benign and malignant tumors of bones, joints, and muscles.

In California Workers’ Compensation Law, there can be occasions in which there is the need to treat tumors in order to treat an industrial injury.

What Is Rehabilitation Orthopedics and How Does It Relate to Workers’ Compensation?



Rehabilitation Orthopedics concentrates and providing short- and long-term programs to improve strength and mobility and to optimize recovery for individuals.

In California Workers’ Compensation, the specialization can be involved in a catastrophic claim in which an Injured Worker requires the opportunity to recover so that they can return to perform activities or daily living or return to the labor market.

What Is Pediatric Orthopedics and How Does It Relate to Workers’ Compensation?


Pediatric Orthopedics involves the care of injuries, deformities, and diseases of the bones, joints, muscles, and tendons in children.

In California Workers’ Compensation, this specialty can be involved in the treatment of children are participating in the labor market.   Within the field of entertainment, there are child actors who are working and can sustain injuries.

One of the most famous work injury cases involving the Entertainment Industry involved children who were fatally injured in the workplace.   In 1982, two children, ages 6 and 7, died in a helicopter accident during the filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie.

 What Does Board Certified Mean?


For Orthopedists, Board Certification means that they participate with an organization such as the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery.   These organizations have the goal of maintaining a standard for certification.  The goal of such boards is to improve the quality of health can by supporting continuous professional development for physicians who are specialists.

What If I Need Advice?


If you would like a free consultation regarding your workers’ compensation claim, please contact the Law Offices of Edward J. Singer, A Professional Law Corporation. They have been helping people in Central and Southern California deal with their workers’ compensation cases for 26 years. Contact us today for more information.