Roadmap to Orthopaedic Residency

About the Roadmap

This Roadmap to Orthopaedics for Medical Students has been developed by members of the AAOS Resident Assembly, an advisory group to the Academy that provides insight into the viewpoints and training challenges of orthopaedic residents.

The purpose of this roadmap is to provide medical students who are interested in orthopaedics with tools and resources to help them stay on track throughout their medical school career and successfully match into an orthopaedic residency program.

The roadmap provides a year-by-year checklist with important dates, recommendations, and helpful resources.

At a Glance

Check out the "Roadmap At a Glance" for a quick overview of our recommendations for each year of medical school to help you successfully match into an orthopaedic residency program. 

About Orthopaedics

Orthopaedics is the medical specialty that focuses on injuries and diseases of the musculoskeletal system. This complex system includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, cartilage, and nerves.

Treating problems of the musculoskeletal system involves:

  • Diagnosis of an injury or disorder
  • Treatment with medication, exercise, casting, splinting, surgery or other options
  • Rehabilitation by recommending exercises, modalities, and/or physical therapy to restore movement, strength and function
  • Prevention with information and treatment plans to prevent injury or slow the progression of disease

While orthopaedic surgeons are familiar with all aspects of the musculoskeletal system, many orthopaedists specialize in certain areas, such as the foot and ankle, spine, shoulder, hand, hip or knee. They may also choose to focus on specific fields like pediatrics, trauma, orthopaedic oncology, or sports medicine. Some orthopaedic surgeons may specialize in several areas.

For general information about orthopaedic conditions and treatments, check out OrthoInfo, the Academy's patient education website. Articles are developed and peer-reviewed by AAOS surgeon members.