All medical specialties rely on investigations to help confirm diagnoses to some extent.

Cardiologists may use ECGs while respiratory/pulmonologist physicians may use spirometry to help assist them make and grade their diagnoses.

When it comes to orthopedics, we rely heavily on radiographs such as xrays or MRI scans to show signs of pathology or fractures.

As such, it is essential that all orthopedic trainees learn to read and recognise radiographs at an early stage. RealWorld Orthopedics is an app for iPhone and iPad which is designed to do just that.

RealWorld Orthopaedics is an excellent resource for developing the basics of musculoskeletal radiology. In total, there are about 150 cases which cover a wide range of pathologies. The body is split into different areas, eg. wrist, ankle and a list of cases given which relate to that particular area.

Selecting a case shows a list of patients with all the  images that are needed to diagnose and understand the problem e.g. Preoperative evaluation, post operative. The series included with each patient are appropriate eg AP, lateral, axial etc). The actual radiographs themselves are high resolution and can be be manipulated with standard touch gestures such as pinch to zoom.

Selecting a different view is as simple as swiping from side to side. Each case has a brief clinical introduction (rather than history) which gives you the basic background behind the case. The real strength of this app lies in the ability to overlay detailed radiographic interpretation over each image. Tapping on the eye symbol brings up a list of options which can then be turned on or off. The use of different color makes it especially clear where the pathology/fracture is.

Furthermore, there is a decent reference section which contains 55 chapters which cover the definition,  diagnostic criteria, differential diagnoses and principles of treatment for each condition. There is also usually a section on the relevant anatomy using images from Grays Anatomy. I liked the fact that this handbook was hyperlinked so you can read further details about each particular condition.


  • $9.99


  • High resolution images
  • Wide selection of cases
  • Color coordinated radiographic overlays
  • Detailed handbook with relevant additional details


  • X-rays only
  • Clinical history details could be longer

Overall: RealWorld Orthopaedics is an essential app for orthopedic trainees and those who are keen to learn about musculoskeletal radiology. This thorough overview covers an extensive range of conditions and clearly highlights all the important pathologies. An impressive app.

iTunes Link