Orthopedic… Orthopaedic? You’ve probably seen this medical specialty spelled both ways. Technically both are right, Orthopedic is just a more “Americanized” version of the spelling, similar to gray and grey. Given that we are the Orthopedic & Shoulder Center, you can probably guess which spelling we prefer. However, there is more to the field of orthopedics than spelling. The orthopedic practice has changed drastically since its start in 1741 but the purpose remains the same: to treat injuries and disease of the body’s musculoskeletal system.


Orthopedic surgeons treat a variety of injuries dealing with the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system includes bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, tendons and nerves. It’s what helps you move and be active.  An orthopedic surgeon can treat everything from a finger fracture to a knee ligament tear.  Even though we are the Orthopedic & Shoulder Center, Dr. Lawrence Li treats the entire spectrum of orthopedic problems for patients whose age range from newborn to senior citizen.


                An orthopedic problem is like real estate, the most important thing is location, location, and location.  With the exception of a broken bone, most orthopedic problems are focused at a joint.  Common shoulder problems include rotator cuff tears, labral tears, biceps tendonitis and frozen shoulder.  Elbow symptoms are often due to epicondylitis (tennis elbow), cubital tunnel syndrome, and arthritis.  Wrist and hand conditions include carpal tunnel syndrome, wrist ligament tears, trigger finger, and CMC arthritis.  Hip pain often comes from osteoarthritis, trochanteric bursitis and impingement.  The knee is the most likely joint to suffer a structural injury such ACL tears, meniscus tears, chondral injuries just to name a few.  Knee pain can also come from patella tendinitis, osteoarthritis or knee bursitis.  Foot and ankle problems can be traumatic such as Achilles tendon rupture, ankle fractures and ankle sprains.  Degenerative conditions such as peroneal tendonitis, or foot and ankle arthritis are common as well.  Last but not least are spinal conditions such as herniated disc, spinal stenosis, lumbar strain, and cervical strain (whiplash).

Orthopedic & Shoulder Center

                You may wonder when you should schedule an appointment to see your orthopedic surgeon. You may even wonder if you need a referral to see an orthopedic surgeon from your primary care provider. In most cases it will expedite your healing process, and decrease your cost if you go directly to an orthopedic surgeon, like Dr. Li. Dr. Li will be able to diagnose your condition and start you on the path to recovery right away.  Dr. Lawrence Li’s office does not require a referral so you can call and get an appointment.

It may be time to see an orthopedic surgeon if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty performing activities of daily life due to an injured body part (ex. Walking, putting away groceries, etc.)
  • Joint pain that worsens during periods of rest
  • Pain that lasts for more than a few days in muscles, tendons, or joints.
  • Swelling and bruising around the injured body part
  • Limited range of motion
  • Obvious deformity at injured site

Orthopedic & Shoulder Center

There are several things to keep in mind when choosing an orthopedic surgeon. It is very important that you feel your doctor is someone you can trust to care for you.  We’ve compiled a list of factors to consider:

  • What are the Orthopedic Surgeon’s credentials?
    • You will want to find out where your surgeon went to college, medical school, residency and Board Certification.
      • You can view Dr. Li’s credentials here.
  • How experienced is the Orthopedic Surgeon?
    • The more experience a surgeon has, the better outcome you will likely have. You can read more about Dr. Li’s extensive experience here.
  • Professional Staff
    • You will be cared for by other professional staff during your visits, and will be impacted by them as well. It is important to know the qualifications of the staff.
  • Review Patient testimonials
    • Many websites have patient testimonials for new patients to find out about previous patients experiences.
  • Know which Orthopedic Surgeon your insurance will cover.
    • It is important to check with the office you will be visiting to ensure they accept your insurance. Alternatively, you can also call your insurance company.

Okay, you’ve decided to see an orthopedic surgeon and you’ve scheduled your appointment. Now it’s time to prepare for your appointment. Here are a few checklist items to ensure you are prepared:

  • Fill out patient forms. You can save time when you get to the office by filling the forms our prior to your visit. Our patient forms can be found here.
  • If you have had imaging done somewhere other than the office you will be visiting, it may be important to bring those. It is best to inquire while scheduling your appointment.
  • Bring a list of your current medications and make sure the doctor is aware of these.
  • Be sure to bring your insurance card and possibly a photo ID.
  • Dress comfortably
  • If you haven’t visited a particular provider before, make sure you know where they are located and how to get there.

Dr.  Lawrence Li and the staff at Orthopedic & Shoulder Center understand that seeing a specialist can be daunting but want to assure you that you are in good hands. By seeing either Dr. Li or our nurse practitioner, Rachel Maxwell, you can start your recovery sooner. Orthopedic & Shoulder Center does not require a referral from your primary care provider, meaning that when you have an injury, you can call us and schedule an appointment when necessary.  We also offer same day appointments because patients need treatment when they get hurt.