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The Crooked Tree in Orthopedics

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The Crooked Tree in Orthopedics

The Fox Valley Orthopedics (formerly Orthopaedics) logo features the crooked tree with a “bandage” of sorts wrapped around its trunk. A quick google search of orthopedics produces many similar images… a bent tree, with a brace around its trunk. Why is this image so important to the ortho world and where did it originate?

Fox Valley Orthopedics Logo

The very word “orthopaedic” is derived from the root words “orthos” – meaning straight or correct and “paideion” – meaning child. Originally orthopedics was focused on children and the work of straighten a spine that was crooked. Today a crooked spine is know as scoliosis. Back then, and even today in certain circumstances, a crooked spine was treated with bracing.

According an article published on NCBI, in 1971 a French doctor named Nicolas Andry published a book titled “L’orthopedie”. The book focused on medical advice for parents about correcting and preventing deformities in children and featured a key image of a tree braced with a stick and rope. The image was meant to be an easy way for parents to understand a crooked spine, and how bracing methods could help alleviate the problem.

ortho and crooked tree
Image Source: NCBI

When Fox Valley Orthopedics created its logo the team naturally incorporated the tree in our logo to pay homage to this important book and to its foundation of orthopedics as we know it today.