The Importance of Continuing Education for Orthopedic Surgeons; Staying Ahead in an Evolving Field

Orthopedics is a specialty in constant development. One of the main challenges associated with the management of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries is how treatments and technology are constantly changing, in light of the rapid advancements in the field. Orthopedic specialists are asked to keep updating their knowledge, since this is paramount to improve patient treatment and to perform procedures confidently.

There are several articles showing that clinicians who receive appropriate training and education in orthopedic procedures are better able to perform specific procedures, which then translates into patient benefit.1-3 In their article, Åkesson and colleagues defend that all doctors, irrespective of their specialty, should receive at least minimal training in musculoskeletal conditions, since they are so prevalent in society.4 This is echoed in the Limb and Günther chapter on education, part of the EFORT White Book titled “Orthopaedics and Traumatology in Europe”, where they defend that “fundamental knowledge of (musculoskeletal) disorders and injuries is essential to the practice of medicine.” 5

However, there are some challenges and aspects to consider when choosing your Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activity in orthopedics.

Adult learning differs from childhood learning in several ways. Adult students often prefer a more self-directed approach, taking into account their experience level. Since adult learners also have experienced previous learning in their lives, they are more prone to make comparisons between training offers, and, importantly, they prefer that the course content is actually applicable to their lives, with skills and solutions that help them to solve problems and work better.6

Clinicians may also have busy schedules, which interfere with their ability to find the time (and mental fortitude) to embark in long, demanding courses. Or they may have travel constraints, preventing them from traveling great distances and/or spending a week away from their practice. In this case, it may be better to find shorter, closer, or online offerings that can provide the necessary knowledge in a convenient format. It should also be noted that every person has a preferred style of learning, which influences their favored education method and which training providers should consider when developing their offering.7,8

As a manufacturer, Orthofix is committed in providing a balanced mix of training opportunities through its Orthofix Academy™, including:

  • In-person training: With a stimulating and structured learning environment, these courses provide a sense of community among students, an engaging classroom, and networking opportunities. They are perfect for those desiring a truly immersive experience. These comprehensive learning opportunities are organized at both a national and international level in many countries worldwide.
  • Online training: Due to their flexible structures, these courses allow participants to study from anywhere.
  • On-demand training: These courses provide a convenient, flexible and tailored education pathway, with a selection of the best resources for each professional or specific training need.

In orthopedics, manufacturers play a role in the education landscape, since there are many conditions managed with the use of medical devices, and manufacturers have the responsibility to ensure that users of the device have the adequate training. Many times, especially for more complex and/or surgical devices, this means the manufacturer must develop and deliver specific training programs for the intended users, such as orthopedic surgeons.

Finding a trusted source of good quality education is paramount to ensuring that you are getting the best results from your time and financial investment. The content should allow physicians to gain knowledge that is valuable to them, that effectively enhances their skills and ability to take care of their patients. Only this will translate into true patient and public health benefits.

Orthofix Academy can provide innovative educational resources and opportunities to clinicians, allowing them to expand their knowledge, reinforce skills, and connect with peers in the orthopedic field. Subscribe to the Orthofix Academy at


1.  Bellamy N, Goldstein LD, Tekanoff RA. Continuing medical education-driven skills acquisition and impact on improved patient outcomes in family practice setting. J Contin Educ Health Prof. Winter 2000;20(1):52-61. doi:10.1002/chp.1340200109

2.  Cevallos N, Zukotynski B, Greig D, Silva M, Thompson RM. The Utility of Virtual Reality in Orthopedic Surgical Training. Journal of Surgical Education. 2022/11/01/ 2022;79(6):1516-1525. doi:

3.  Koo A, Almeida BA, Kerluku J, Yang B, Fufa D. Teaching in Orthopaedic Surgery: Effective Strategies for Educating the Modern Learner in a Modern Surgical Practice. JBJS Open Access. 2022;7(3)

4.  Akesson K, Dreinhöfer KE, Woolf AD. Improved education in musculoskeletal conditions is necessary for all doctors. Bull World Health Organ. 2003;81(9):677-83.

5.  Limb D, Günther K-P. Education and Training of Professionals. In: Verhaar JaN, Kjærsgaard-Andersen P, Limb D, Günther KP, Karachalios T, eds. The EFORT White Book: “Orthopaedics and Traumatology in Europe”. Dennis Barber Ltd; 2021.

6.  Mukhalalati BA, Taylor A. Adult Learning Theories in Context: A Quick Guide for Healthcare Professional Educators. Journal of Medical Education and Curricular Development. 2019/01/01 2019;6:2382120519840332. doi:10.1177/2382120519840332

7.  Pashler H, McDaniel M, Rohrer D, Bjork R. Learning Styles: Concepts and Evidence. Psychological Science in the Public Interest. 2008/12/01 2008;9(3):105-119. doi:10.1111/j.1539-6053.2009.01038.x

8. Yam CHK, Griffiths SM, Yeoh EK. What helps and hinders doctors in engaging in continuous professional development? An explanatory sequential design. PLoS One. 2020;15(8):e0237632. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0237632