The 13 Best Orthopedics Books of 2023

Top-rated orthopedic books for medical professionals and students, covering anatomy, diagnosis, and treatment. Featuring expert recommendations and reviews. Image credit: exer.ai.
This list of the top orthopedics books for 2023 is based on online reviews, so orthopedic surgeons can add useful and interesting books to their libraries.

There’s something overwhelming about walking into a bookstore with no clear idea of what you’re looking for. But when you have a recommendation that comes from someone you trust, you can be sure you’re adding another winner to your library.

Orthopedic surgeons who like to be on the cutting edge of their field want reading material that informs and piques their interest. They also want the best books their peers have reviewed, so they know what they’re reading is worth their time. 

We’ve rounded up the 13 best orthopedics books of 2023 that are bestsellers and have strong online reviews from fellow orthopedic professionals. Add these useful and interesting books to your shelves so you can continue to improve your craft. 

Handbook of Fractures

The sixth edition of this book by Kenneth Egol, MD, which was published in 2019, has a 4.8 out of 5-star rating on Amazon. The book includes practical coverage of adult and pediatric fractures and can serve as a quick reference guide whether you’re a surgeon, resident, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant. “Handbook of Fractures” covers all major fracture classification systems. In addition to its easy-to-read design, it’s jam-packed with illustrations, charts, tables, diagrams, and more.

According to its listing on Amazon, the book is “widely used by orthopaedic residents and surgeons, orthopaedic trauma fellows, primary care and emergency medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.”

Verified purchaser review: “Great book of all things fractures! I’m an NP in an orthopedic office and I find this book very helpful with fracture management.”

Available in paperback or eTextbook on Amazon.

Bones: Inside and Out

”Bones: Inside and Out” is described as an exploration of the 500-million-year history of bone. Author Roy A. Meals is a clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at UCLA. In “Bones,” he investigates orthopedic anatomy and how bones have been part of human culture outside of just medical references over the ages. The book boasts glowing reviews online. Consider it a nice break for orthopedic physicians and surgeons looking to expand their reading beyond textbooks.

Verified purchaser review: “Everything you ever wondered about bones — biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, archaeology, paleontology, art, history, and culture is all here, brightly and amusingly presented. Any future doctor, nurse, physician assistant, physical therapist, medical technician, or interested scholar will get a glimpse of the ‘charm’ of orthopedics while reading ‘Bones: Inside and Out.’ With its goal-directed teamwork, beautiful skeletal anatomy, and generally successful outcomes, there is no specialty like Orthopedic Surgery, and Dr. Meals brings the joys of studying bones to life in these pages.”

Available in Kindle, audiobook, paperback, and hardcover on Amazon.

Office Orthopedics for Primary Care: Treatment

The third edition of this “widely popular” text provides guidance for the management of some of the most common musculoskeletal disorders, including strains, sprains, overuse injuries, and arthritic conditions. 

The book includes fundamentals and insight from Dr. Bruce Carl Anderson, an authority on orthopedic practice in primary care. Among the information presented in the book are patient information sheets that show patients how to do rehabilitation exercises that you can easily demonstrate for them.

Verified purchaser review: “I am an internal medicine physician who usually practices as a Hospitalist. Currently, I am deployed to the Middle East. Most clinic visits here are for MSK [musculoskeletal] complaints, so I bought this book to refresh my memory on common ortho complaints. It has been a great reference — very easy to read and a quick resource. It has patient handouts regarding specific diagnoses and exercises. The author covers the most common complaints, how to reach a diagnosis, how to treat acutely/chronically, and when to order supplemental studies. I would recommend it for anyone in primary care.”

Available in paperback on Amazon.

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Rheumatology Made Ridiculously Simple

Whether “Rheumatology Made Ridiculously Simple” actually makes rheumatology ridiculously simple is up to the reader. However, this book does cover a broad range of rheumatologic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and many others. The way it’s written focuses more on clinical relevance than repetition, which could be a nice change for experienced orthopedic physicians.

Verified purchaser review: “I have been in rheumatology for many years and would recommend this to physician extenders such as PA or ARNP, even medical assistants or even your office managers to help them understand what we do in practice.”

Available in paperback on Amazon.

McRae's Orthopaedic Trauma and Emergency Fracture Management 

This book is a fully rewritten version of a classic textbook, Ronald McRae’s “Pocketbook of Orthopaedics and Fractures.” It retains the main themes of the original title but offers a modern, comprehensive look at orthopedic trauma surgery, which is a great resource for ortho surgeons who always want to improve their craft.

Verified purchaser review: “I’ve been an ortho trauma NP for over 12 years in a level 1 trauma center- and it's been valuable to my practice and I get it for all my trainees.”

Available in paperback on Amazon.

Pocket Orthopedic Surgery 

Pocket Orthopaedic Surgery, a go-to resource for orthopedic surgeons, is organized and concise. The book is pocket-sized and provides relevant orthopedic surgery coverage in a portable source, so it’s easy to reference. 

It covers subspecialty areas, including trauma, sports medicine, shoulder and elbow, hand and wrist, hip, knee, foot and ankle, spine, tumors, and pediatrics.

Verified purchaser review: “What I like most — I can keep what I use most, easily remove what I no longer need, I can add more blank paper for my own notes.”

Available in hardcover or Kindle on Amazon.

Miller's Review of Orthopaedics

The eighth edition of “Miller’s Review of Orthopaedics” has long been considered the go-to review guide for orthopedic residents, fellows, and surgeons. 

Drs. Mark D. Miller and Stephen R. Thompson, along with other expert contributors, go over the basic science of orthopedics, keep you up to date with the latest medical advances, and give you ways to run a more efficient practice while still being as safe as possible, which is something every orthopedic specialist is interested in.

Verified purchaser review: “Mark Miller's Review, 8th Edition, remains the top review book for orthopaedics. It is a joy to read for orthopods in practice and essential reading for residents/registrars.”

Available in paperback or eTextbook on Amazon.

Oxford Handbook of Orthopaedics and Trauma

“The Oxford Handbook of Orthopaedics and Trauma” presents the essentials and basic principles of orthopedics and trauma for adult and pediatric orthopedics. Emergency topics are highlighted for quick access.

This book provides depictions and diagrams of fractures, as well as some pertinent facts about the drugs commonly used in orthopedics and trauma. It also includes blank pages so the reader can add their own notes and observations — a valuable resource for any orthopedic doctor.

Verified purchaser review: “It's very concise and suitable for different levels of specialty training! One of a kind. I totally recommend it to my colleagues.”

Available in paperback and flexibound on Amazon.

Orthopedic Physical Examination Tests: An Evidence-Based Approach

The second edition of “Orthopedic Physical Examination Tests: An Evidence-Based Approach” is a comprehensive and evidence-based guide to clinical tests for physical examinations in orthopedics. This edition boasts an additional 200 new tests and contains two entirely new chapters. 

Verified purchaser review: “This has everything you could possible want to know when it comes to manual testing. It has tests, directions, pictures, and even the efficacy of the tests.”

Available in paperback or Kindle on Amazon.

Clinical Orthopaedic Rehabilitation: A Team Approach

“Clinical Orthopaedic Rehabilitation, 4th Edition,” helps orthopedic professionals discover the most effective, evidence-based protocols for helping patients get functionality back after common sports injuries or surgery. 

Because this book was written by surgeons and occupational and physical therapists, it’s a practical guide orthopedic professionals can read with confidence. It covers how to conduct initial exams, diagnosis, and, subsequently, treatment and rehab.

Verified purchaser review: “I bought this book for help learning protocols and for the great, informative images I could show my patients during their education process. My clinic was destroyed by Hurricane Michael and all of my school books were destroyed. Over all of my books I chose to purchase another copy of this one before I even had my next job lined up!”

Available in hardcover or Kindle on Amazon.

Practical Office Orthopedics

This book by Dr. Edward “Ted” Parks provides full-color drawings and modern radiographs. It also includes a detailed perspective on common issues of the musculoskeletal system and how to treat and manage them.

Parks is known for holding orthopedics workshops at conferences hosted by the American College of Physicians Conferences. His workshops are highly-rated by primary care providers, and his book is acclaimed, as well. “Practical Office Orthopedics” covers common injuries to the knee, shoulder, hip, upper and lower extremities, and the spine.

Verified purchaser review: “I'm transitioning from hospital practice to primary care, and bought a number of books to help improve my clinical skills. This book fit the bill PERFECTLY. The author explains different diseases and his approach succinctly and directly. He gives great analogies (that I'm filing away to share with patients) that help illustrate the concepts. The book is well-illustrated. I particularly like the frequent sidebars — when I find I'm losing focus getting through the main material, I read a tidbit from one of the sidebars and that's enough of a break. I wish this book had been around when I was in medical school, because examining knees/shoulders/hips would have made much more sense.”

Available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

Rockwood and Green's Fractures in Adults

The ninth edition of this book includes new chapters and features. Field experts share their experiences, guidance, and insights on the latest technical developments for common orthopedic procedures and treatment.

Verified purchaser review: “The book is the best reference in traumatology.”

Available in hardcover or Kindle on Amazon.

Netter's Concise Orthopaedic Anatomy

Netter’s “Concise Orthopaedic Anatomy” is an excellent resource to have handy during your orthopedic rotation or residency as a quick reference. Author Jon C. Thompson presents the latest data on orthopedic conditions in a way that makes it simple for orthopedic surgeons to quickly refer to.

Verified purchaser review: “This book is amazing. I bought it as a physician assistant student about to begin my orthopedic rotation and have continued to use it working as a surgical Ortho PA.”

Available in paperback and eTextbook on Amazon.

Add more to your reading list with orthopedic journals

After you’ve crossed these books off of your list, you may want some more reading material to keep your mind occupied and your skills sharp.

Check out our list of top orthopedic journals by subspecialty, so you can read the latest academic research about orthopedic surgical techniques, strategies for treatment, case studies, and more. From the official journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) to journals that zero in on topics like hand surgery and arthroplasty, this list has you covered.

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