It is not immediately obvious why a history of orthopaedics should interest anyone other than orthopaedists themselves. As a well-established surgical specialism, now mainly concerned with the treatment of fractures, low back pain, and the replacement of hip joints,1 orthopaedics ranks among the least controversial and most socially uninteresting areas of medicine. Its highly remunerated practitioners may not always be characterized in the most flattering terms,2 and in Britain certain problems still surround its place in undergraduate medical education and in accident and emergency services.3 But on the whole, its autonomy is unthreatened, it is not racked by problems of definition, and its professional organizations are secure. To an outsider, its most intriguing feature is probably its association with special types of shoes and mattresses.


National Health Service Urban Slum Undergraduate Medical Education Industrial Accident Hospital Appointment 
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    See J. Noble and CS.B. Galasko (eds), Recent Developments in Orthopaedic Surgery (Manchester, 1987); idem, Current Trends in Orthopaedic Surgery (Manchester, 1988).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Roger Cooter 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Cooter
    • 1
  1. 1.Wellcome Unit for the History of MedicineUniversity of ManchesterUK

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