Operational Medicine Medical Education and Training

Operational Orthopedics

Orthopedics for the General Medical Officer

Main Topics for Discussion

  • First hand experience as a GMO

  • Resources available to you

  • Orthopedic Emergencies

  • Basic ortho injuries from neck to toe

  • When (and how) to refer

  • What your orthopedic consultant can (and can’t offer)

  • Recommended texts

  • Casting and splinting

My Experience

  • I served as a Diving Medical Officer for 2 years

  • Dive site injuries at waterfront versus remote sites

  • Useful tools to have at your disposal

    • Digital Camera, Jump Drive, Internet access

    • Casting/splinting materials

    • Local anesthetics (without epinephrine)

    • A comprehensive phone list







Orthopedics, Naval Medical Center San Diego

The castroom number is (619)532-5342 or 532-8439

Multiple Subspecialists available

Your closest Navy orthopedics department

Make contact with your go-to orthopods early and establish a good working relationship

Wheeless’s Ortho Textbook Online


Know exactly what you want and make that clear

Physical/Occupational Therapy

  • These departments can be a huge help

  • OT works with the UE from the elbow down. They make custom splints, provide therapy protocols, utilize modalities

  • PT works with the shoulder, back, and lower extremities. Consider them for back school, ankle proprioception, post-injury pre-op rehab, etc.

  • If you do not have these on your ship or nearby, protocols are often available on-line, in texts, or from a civilian provider in town.

The Role of the Operational Navy Corpsman

  • The operational corpsman is a very active and hands-on part of the healthcare team.

  • They often know more than you do about common problems.

  • Make sure you get them OJT in nearby castrooms, pt depts, etc.

  • Ingrown toenail removal, blister care, splinting, crutch sizing - these are just a few of the things they can help you with.

  • If you have the good fortune to have an experienced IDC, you’re living the good life

Orthopedic Emergencies

Aka "Fire up the helicopters…"

Cauda Equina Syndrome

  • Bilateral buttock/le pain

  • Urinary retention

  • Bowel incontinence

  • Saddle anesthesia

  • Decrease in LE strength/sensation

  • This can be rapidly progressive. Loss of bowel, bladder, or erectile function may be irreversible!

Continue to PowerPoint® Lecture...


Lecture by

LCDR Eric Harris, MD
Surface Warfare Medicine Institute

2006 Surface Warfare Medical Officer Indoctrination Course
Naval Operational Medicine Institute
340 Huise Road
Pensacola FL 32508-1092



Home  ·  Textbooks and Manuals  ·  Videos  ·  Lectures  ·  Distance Learning  ·  Training  ·  Operational Safety  · Supplies and Equipment  ·  Search  ·  About Us


This website is dedicated to the development and dissemination of medical information that may be useful to those who practice Operational Medicine. This website is privately-held and not connected to any governmental agency. The views expressed here are those of the authors, and unless otherwise noted, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brookside Associates, Ltd., any governmental or private organizations. All writings, discussions, and publications on this website are unclassified.

© 2006, 2007, 2008, Medical Education Division, Brookside Associates, Ltd. All rights reserved

Other Brookside Products

Contact Us


Advertise on this Site