We regularly get asked by patients to explain the meaning of the tree that we have in our lobby. As you look you may notice a rope tied around the trunk to a straight stake. Are you wondering why that is? And how it is related to Orthopedics? It turns out that a bent tree braced to a stake to make it grow upward and straight has been the traditional symbol of orthopedics for hundreds of years. The crooked tree symbol was first used as an illustration by Nicholas Andry in his 1741 published book on orthopedic medicine. From that moment on, it has become the symbol of our profession.
The word “orthopedic” stems from the Greek roots, “ortho” (meaning straight or free from deformity) and “Pais” (meaning child) Inc.) Early orthopedists would brace or splint young children so they would grow upward, strong, and straight. Several people think of orthopedic physicians as mainly treating broken bones; however they are so much more than that that! Orthopedic surgeons deal with the correction or prevention of injuries not only to the skeletal system, but the associated muscles, joints, and ligaments as well. We’ve have evolved in technology and understanding from when Nicholas Andry first sketched that bent sapling which has been effective.
Now you Know!