What Can Be Treated at an Orthopedic Urgent Care?
Almost any orthopedic injury can be treated in an orthopedic urgent care center. Simple sprains and strains may not necessarily need a specialist’s attention, however, until you’ve been examined, you have no way of knowing how serious your injury is. If you go to a primary care office, or even an urgent care office that is not equipped for anything beyond basic injuries, you may find yourself traveling to an outpatient radiology center for X-rays, or even the emergency room for tests and treatment. Other problems that can be addressed include minor dislocations, simple broken bones, torn ligaments or tendons, swollen joints, concussions, hematomas or contusions (bleeding under the skin), and painful joints. So, while we will hope there will be no “next times”, if you have any future injuries or experience any joint, muscle, or bone pain, your best option is to find an urgent care that offers orthopedic care.
Why Choose Orthopedic Urgent Care?
When someone is seeking care for an injury, or acute pain, the last thing they want to do is wait. Delay of treatment will inevitably lead to an extension of the time that you are in pain; and experts will tell you that longer periods of pain will lead to poorer health and quality of life. However, pain may not be the only problem you will deal with if a serious injury goes untreated. If a fracture is not diagnosed and treated promptly, the complications you are likely to deal with later includes bone deformities, nerve damage, and muscle or ligament damage – in addition to a protracted period of pain and swelling. Additionally, if you injure a joint and do not receive the expert care of an orthopedist, there is a good chance that you will not only develop chronic pain, but also limited range of motion and function of that joint. Keeping the risks in mind, there are obvious benefits to seek treatment at an orthopedic urgent care when you experience an injury or acute bone, muscle, or joint pain.
Prompt, Accurate Diagnosis and treatment
Your primary care doctor, and other healthcare providers are very capable of evaluating your acute injury or pain, however, their resources are often limited in most office settings. For example, the signs and symptoms of sprains and strains are very similar to those of fractures. However, an X-ray is usually necessary to confirm a fracture, and most offices do not offer X-ray services in house. You can usually expect a prescription or referral to have the X-ray done in an outpatient radiology clinic. Waiting for an appointment, and traveling to another site, then returning for the follow-up ultimately delays appropriate treatment from hours to days. In the event of a joint injury, prompt treatment is also very important. While diagnosis of some injuries may require more extensive testing such as an MRI, seeing an orthopedist from the outset guarantees that you will receive timely treatment, whether it be rest or splinting, physical therapy, medications, or even surgery.
Once diagnosed, you will also be glad you have sought care at an orthopedic urgent care center when you find that they have everything available to treat your injury. For instance, if you have a fracture, you will be splinted, casted, or immobilized when you need it. If you need an injection, you will be in the right place to get it. If you have swelling or pain, this too will be treated. If you show signs of concussion, you will be given appropriate treatment and advised on follow-up care, and return to activity protocols. In fact, at an orthopedic urgent care, you will find a provider that will not only diagnose and treat you, but who can also guide you on any follow-up care, and educate you on what to expect during your recovery.
Pain Control and Preservation of Function
Pain is inevitable with injury, however, the faster you begin treatment, the quicker you will begin to heal. The things that you do immediately following an injury can have an impact on your duration and severity of pain. For instance, if immobilization is necessary, it should happen as soon as possible. In fact, the first things that should be done for injury can be described with the acronym “RICE”, which stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Your urgent orthopedic care specialist will advise you of this, as well as prescribe any medication necessary. However, while rest is important, resuming activity is equally important when appropriate. The orthopedic specialist at an urgent care center will be able to prescribe any physical therapy necessary for you to regain full mobility and function of a joint that has been injured. This can prevent years of future pain and disability.
Time and Money
To review your options, if you experience an acute injury or onset of pain, you can go to your primary care provider, a traditional urgent care, the emergency room, or an orthopedic urgent care. However, unless you have a very mild injury, the first three options will ultimately result in you making additional trips to get adequate treatment. Except in an emergency room, you will often be sent elsewhere for X-rays. Depending on the results of those X-rays, you will most likely be referred to an orthopedic specialist for treatment. This is even true when you are seen in the emergency room. For instance, you may receive initial splinting for a fracture, but will be referred to orthopedics for any further treatment including casting. As you probably know, you may wait days to weeks for an appointment with a specialist. If you had gone to an orthopedic urgent care center, that wait would have been eliminated. How much is your time worth? And how much is a speedy recovery worth? In addition, unless you have a true emergency, going to the emergency room for a simple orthopedic problem is an expensive choice, and one that can find you waiting hours to be seen.
When To Go to the Emergency Room
While an urgent orthopedic care center is generally an ideal option for treatment of an injury, there are times when the emergency room is the right choice. For instance, if you are ever in a severe car or work-related accident, you should go to the emergency room. Additionally, any fracture that breaks through the skin, known as a compound fracture, should be evaluated and treated in the emergency room immediately. Also, if you ever lose consciousness, have bleeding that you can’t stop, or have a fracture that prevents you from using your limb, the emergency room is your best choice for treatment.
If you have any questions about how an orthopedic urgent care center can help you, what injuries or illnesses we will treat, or any concerns about an injury or symptoms you are experiencing, please call Patient Care Now Urgent Care at our Fairless Hills location at (267) 202-6433 today, or check in online. We look forward to meeting all of your healthcare needs.