Orthopaedic trauma is any severe injury to the bones, joints, and/or soft tissue that is caused by an external source. These injuries are often the result of a sudden incident, such as a car accident or fall, but not always. Trauma can also be caused by overuse – for example, running long distances is a common cause of tibial stress fractures, small hairline cracks in the lower leg.
The definition of orthopaedic trauma is broad because it encompasses a spectrum of injuries, from simple hairline fractures to life-threatening accidents. While there are many different types of traumatic orthopaedic injuries, the goal of surgeons who specialize in this area is the same – to restore the function of the injured body part(s) as quickly and effectively as possible.