Your musculoskeletal system moves, supports, and protects you. However, its complexity makes it more likely for you to experience injuries like sprains, fractures, arthritis, tears and more. How do you know what treatment you need for a chronic condition or acute injury? In this blog, we will explore how to decide between surgery and the many non-surgical orthopedic treatments available today.
Getting an Orthopedic Evaluation
Orthopedic care begins with an in-office evaluation. During the evaluation, you will discuss your symptoms, medical history, medications, and any treatments you have tried for your injury or condition. Your specialist will examine you and also order lab tests and imaging, such as X-rays, an MRI or a CT scan as needed.
You also will discuss the kinds of movements and functions you wish to recover such as safely walking up and down stairs or swinging your tennis racket without elbow pain. Your doctor will tell you what is possible to recover in terms of bodily function, level of pain, and even deformity.
Determining Treatment Goals
Whether you have a chronic, degenerative condition, such as osteoarthritis, a repetitive motion injury, such as tennis elbow or carpal tunnel syndrome, or a work-related fracture, strain, sprain, or tear, you want your normal motion and strength restored. Pain elimination or management is an important goal, too, as are restoration of independence in activities of daily living, employment-related tasks, participation in sports and more.
So, you and your orthopedic doctor will discuss how your injury or chronic condition impacts your function and comfort level. From there, you can
determine the best treatment plan to suit your age, gender, overall health, and activities important to your overall wellness and day to day life at home, at work, and in the community.
Deciding on Surgery or Non-Surgical Orthopedic Treatments
Thankfully, orthopedic specialists do not rush into surgery as the first and best treatment choice. It is possible that your injury or condition may only require an examination, X-rays, and stabilization with durable medical equipment (DME). Examples of DME include back braces, slings, walking boots, ACE bandages, and casts.
Additionally, orthopedic specialists offer many other kinds of non-operative care such as:
- Concussion care
- Physical therapy, including heat and cold therapy, massage, targeted exercises, and other modalities
- Injection therapy (cortisone injections and visco-supplmentation as examples)
- Orthotics (corrective and protective shoe inserts)
- Pain medications
- Regenerative medicine options, such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
However, in some cases, surgery is the best option. Conditions which may require surgery are:
- Advanced arthritis in the hip, shoulder, knee, or ankle
- Severe bone fractures
- Unstable joints due to multiple dislocations (shoulder) or sprains (ankle)
- Joint and wound infections
- Traumatic limb amputations
- Torn muscles, ligaments, and tendons
- Nerve impingements, such as carpal tunnel syndrome
- Compartment syndrome
Together, you and your orthopedic specialist will discuss your treatment options in-depth, considering your overall health, age, commitment to rehabilitation and more. The more information you have regarding your musculoskeletal issue and the realistic treatment options available, the better your decisions regarding your care will be.
Orthopaedic Specialist in Fair Hills, PA
At Patient Care Now Urgent Care, our emergency medicine physicians and their support team deliver excellent assessments and treatments for many orthopedic injuries and conditions. We have onsite imaging capabilities and also provide stabilization of acute injuries with durable medical equipment and patient education appropriate to the injury.
If your condition is complex, we can refer you to area orthopedic specialists for follow-up assessment and care. And we are available to help seven days a week, 365 days a year. Just come to our clinic, and we will triage your condition and get you assessed right away.
Call us to learn more about our orthopedic services (267) 202-6433. You may also use our online check-in before stopping in to see us.