The word orthopaedics is based on two greek roots: orthos, which means straight and paedia which means child. It was first introduced by a french surgeon, Nicolas Andry (1658-1742) who published “L’Orthopédie, ou l’art de prévenir et de corriger dans les enfants, les difformités du Corps” in 1741.
Orthopaedics is thus fundamentally a medical specialty which discusses the deformations of the “holding” and “moving” structures, or locomotor system of the body in children. This notion was extended further to deformations of the locomotor system in all ages and for all causes, by means of: congenital (since childhood), degenerative, inflammatory (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis), turmoral, metabolic (e.g. diabetes) or traumatic (accidents).
The founder, Jean-André Venel, was the son of a barber from Geneva who studied at the University of Montpellier in order to open a school for midwives close to his home.During the deliveries he thus assisted, he was struck by some of the deformities of the babies: the deformities of the spinal column and the club feet.