The use of nationwide databases to conduct orthopaedic research has expanded markedly in recent years. Nationwide databases offer large sample sizes, sampling of patients who are representative of the country as a whole, and data that enable investigation of trends over time. The most common use of nationwide databases is to study the occurrence of postoperative adverse events. Other uses include the analysis of costs and the investigation of critical hospital metrics, such as length of stay and readmission rates. Although nationwide databases are powerful research tools, readers should be aware of the differences between them and their limitations. These include variations and potential inaccuracies in data collection, imperfections in patient sampling, insufficient postoperative follow-up, and lack of orthopaedic-specific outcomes.