Common Orthopedic Emergencies

Common Orthopedic Emergencies

by Crystal (SU)

Of the plethora of health conditions that send people to emergency rooms every year, a substantial amount are orthopedic emergencies. An orthopedic emergency is a severe problem in the musculoskeletal system – broken or damaged bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints.

The issue is an emergency if it needs to be dealt with right away in order to prevent potential harm or further damage to the patient. 

Types of Orthopedic Emergencies

Below are some of the most common orthopedic emergencies:

Fractured Bones

One of the most common orthopedic emergencies is a fracture. A fracture is a partial or complete break in a bone.

Fractures happen when too much pressure or force is put on the bone, causing it to break. Some of the most common places for bone fractures are the wrist and ankle.

Most fractured bones are treatable and heal on their own; but in some serious situations, a bone fracture may require surgery to repair. Fractured bones are common among children and elderly people because they tend to have weaker bones, making them more prone to fractures.


Another common orthopedic emergency is a dislocation, which happens when a bone slips out of the joint. Dislocations are common in joints like the knee, ankle, shoulder, and hip. They are typically caused by blunt or awkward force on the joint. 

Many dislocations heal on their own when the patient rests, applies ice or compression, and elevates the area. However, in some cases, these methods do not work. In these cases, doctors may manipulate the joint or immobilize the bones around the joint.

Dislocations are most common among children, young adults who play sports, and adults who are involved in an accident.

Torn Ligaments or Tendons

A tendon is fibrous tissue that connects muscles to bones, whereas a ligament is fibrous tissue that connects a bone to another bone. These connective tissues provide stability and structure to the body.

When a ligament or tendon tears, the connection is broken – causing a lot of pain and instability. In many cases, it can completely prevent the patient from using the affected body part.

An example of this is a torn ankle ligament. If the tear is partial, the patient will experience some pain; however, if it is a complete tear, the ankle will be extremely unstable and may prevent the ability to walk without crutches.

Sports Injuries

Sports injuries are a very common type of orthopedic emergency. As more people of all ages play sports recreationally to stay fit and healthy, doctors and hospitals are seeing more sports-related injuries. Some common sports injuries include shin splints, ankle sprains, tennis elbow, and ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) tears.

Musculoskeletal emergencies are best treated by orthopedic physicians, because they have specialized knowledge and training for properly treating musculoskeletal problems. When an emergency happens, you may not have the time to think about which doctor or clinic to choose.

Orthopedic Urgent Care in Fairless Hills

Patient Care Now is available for any and all emergencies you may have. We have specialists in orthopedic urgent care, and we are here to help you treat your orthopedic emergency as well as virtually all other types of emergency medical needs.

If you have any questions, contact us today by calling (267) 202-6433. No appointment is needed – just show up at our center, and we will take care of the rest.