Orthobullets App Review: Outstanding Quick Reference Guide and Education Review Program for Orthopedics

Musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries affect over 40 million people in the United States alone. Not surprisingly, MSK complaints are extremely common in primary care representing the second leading cause of patient visits. Nationally, over 70% of MSK complaints are initially evaluated in primary care and 90% of non-surgical complaints should be managed by primary care physicians. For the busy primary care provider, deciding whether or not to refer a specific patient/condition to an orthopedic surgeon versus manage locally in their practice can be challenging. 

Previously, we discussed the similar challenge of imaging for MSK complaints in primary care and cited the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College of Radiology (ACR) provide different Choosing Wisely recommendations for various conditions. We also reviewed the excellent Ottawa Rules app to assist for certain musculoskeletal conditions such as neck, ankle, and knee pain. 

Although the Ottawa Rules are available in various medical calculator apps such as  QxCalculate, MediMath, MedCalc, and MDCalc, we favorably reviewed the Ottawa Rules app. But what about everything else?

 After reviewing my Ortho App folder on my device, I was surprised that only the superlative CORE exam app and several OMT apps do I truly find useful for ortho at the POC. One of the residents I was precepting turned me to Orthobullets. Granted, they only used their excellent website, but I wanted to try out their companion app. Orthobullets was founded by Dr. Derek Moore, an ortho spine surgeon. His vision was to greatly improve the orthopaedic surgery training process. He founded the company on the core values of: improved utilization of resident value, more efficient learning through a structured curriculum, and to decrease the opportunity cost of residency. 

Years later, that vision is a reality with a website, apps, and a curriculum to meet and track ACGME milestones and help with accreditation. I approached the app from a primary care physician standpoint–how can the app help me take better care of the ortho patients I see in the clinic? Orthobullets is just as it sounds — key “take-home messages” of all things ortho including common sports injuries to rare ortho related tumors, non-operative, and operative management. The app contains question banks, references/core articles, embedded videos/lectures, graphics, tables, and charts throughout either downloaded or hyperlinked via the app. 

Evidence-Based Medicine

Each clinical topic in Orthobullets has a reference section with hyperlinks to the article or abstract. Some PDFs are also available via link. Most contain at least one recent reference, but many also contain older references.

What providers would benefit from this App?

Students, residents, fellows, mid-levels family medicine, pediatrics, orthopedics, sports medicine, and any provider who orthopedics and sports medicine.


o App and website are free. Some of the ACGME/CME related options require a subscription ($60-$400 for individuals up to entire GME programs).


  • Perfect for review at the point of care prior to ortho consultation
  • Quality multimedia content, quick banks, breadth of ortho material
  • Available for Android


  • For the clinical topics, detail may not be at depth desirable for some compared to a reference
  • Layout of website and app not quite the same which can be initially jarring
  • Some references are not as current as they could be


The content of Orthobullets is outstanding. Although not as detailed in some ways such as a reference like UpToDate it resembles more an orthopedic version of Dynamed or Essential Evidence. The app has detailed surgical information for ortho residents as well as faculty. Basic anatomy info for students up to attendings, and multimedia functions not typically seen in free apps.  Some of the app is not applicable to primary care, but most of it would function as a quick reference guide and review of common and not so common ortho topics. 

Overall Score

o 5.0 stars

User Interface

o 5.0 stars

Slightly more challenging to navigate than the Orthobullets website, but otherwise is laid out in similar fashion with numerous drop-down/drill-down menus.

Multimedia Usage

o 5.0 stars

App contains pictures, charts, tables, PDFs, videos, question banks, hyperlinked references, etc. Extremely robust multi-media options. Even more so for the paid than free version.      


o 5.0 stars

App and website are free. Some of the ACGME/CME related options require a subscription ($60-$400 for individuals up to entire GME programs).

 Real-World Applicability

o 4.5 stars

Orthobullets is an outstanding app and website for reviewing the basics of all things orthopedics. The app is filled with useful information for primary care physicians; however, its target audience of orthopedic residents, fellows, and faculty will find everything from basic anatomy to treatment to surgical approaches with an embedded curriculum that can help programs meet ACGME accreditation requirements. Highly recommended.   

Device Used For Review

o iPhone 11 Pro running iOS 13.7

Available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. Website contains even more material.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not reflect the official policy of the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.