The spectrum of orthopedic problems encountered by family physicians in everyday practice has received little study in the past. This paper presents and analyzes the incidence and distribution of orthopedic problems in general/family practice based on four sources of secondary data. These sources include the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, a Family Practice Service in a large military teaching hospital, a state wide study in Virginia, and two community-based family practice settings in Washington State. Orthopedic problems constitute about ten percent of all office visits in family practice. Over one half of these involve chronic, nontraumatic musculoskeletal problems. Major differences are noted in the distribution of sprains, strains, and fractures in adults and children. Fractures of the hand, foot, forearm, lower leg, and clavicle comprise between 50 and 80 percent of fractures seen in the settings under study. This kind of information should be helpful in better defining goals and methods for graduate training of family practice residents in orthopedics.