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What’s the Difference between Orthopaedic and Orthopedic?

Orthopaedics or orthopedics?

We’ve all seen it spelled both ways but which one is correct? And – more importantly – does it make a difference?

Word Origins

Both “orthopaedics” and “orthopedics” are derived from orthopédie, a French term coined by 17th -century physician Nicholas Andry de Bois-Regard. The term used by Andry itself is derived from the Greek words ὀρθός (orthos), which means “correct” or “straight”, and παιδίον (paidion), which means “child”. As the etymology implies, orthopédie – or what we know today as orthopedics – was first practiced as a way to treat childhood spinal deformities such as polio or scoliosis. Of course, modern orthopedics has grown to encompass a diverse array of treatments as well as expand its focus to include all age groups.

No Difference in Meaning

In short, there isn’t a difference between “orthopaedics” and “orthopedics,” at least not in regards to meaning. Both of these terms refer to the branch of medicine dealing with the treatment of bones, joints, and muscles. This means, of course, that information you find regarding “orthopaedic treatments for back pain” is the same as “orthopedic treatments for back pain” and vice versa. This is also true of any of the other conditions that an orthopedist would treat, including:

– Musculoskeletal trauma
– Spine disorders
– Sports injuries
– Acute injuries and congenital disorders effecting joints, bones, or muscles
– Concussions
– Chronic degenerative conditions

The choice between these two terms often comes down to the speaker’s dialect, stylistic choice, or simply just their personal preference. “Orthopaedics” is commonly regarded as the British and academic spelling of the term while “orthopedics” can be considered its Americanized version; however, you may see these spellings used interchangeably. In fact, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Association of Orthopaedic Medicine, American Medical Academy, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, and other American orthopaedic organizations all use the “ae spelling. In fact, it is difficult to find a professional medical organization that doesn’t use the “ae” version.

Why We Chose Beacon Orthopaedics

Diagnosing a patients elbow condition
Similar to the litany of other respected orthopaedic organizations, Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine has chosen to use the “ae” within our own name. This is a reflection of our own commitment to the roots of orthopedics, as well as our alignment with academic and research institutions supporting and driving future progress.

At Beacon Orthopaedics, we are – above all – committed to providing each patient with all of the information that you need in order to make the best decisions regarding your health. True to our name, we are your beacon for guiding your health. When you have questions, contact any of our locations in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. You can also request an appointment with a physician online or by calling (513) 354-3700. Whether you need “orthopaedic care” or “orthopedic care,” you are in good hands with the sub-specialty trained specialists at Beacon.