You’ve just sustained an orthopedic injury. You need medical attention, but the injury probably doesn’t warrant a trip to the emergency room. So, where do you go – to the nearest urgent care facility or an orthopedic urgent care center?
You may not think it matters much. But knowing where to receive the appropriate care following an orthopedic injury can make all the difference in the world. That’s because there are distinct differences between a regular urgent care and orthopedic urgent care. Making the right decision can enable you to receive prompt and accurate treatment, possible diagnostic imaging, that will hopefully lead to a faster recovery.
Orthopedic Urgent Care vs. Regular Urgent CareTypically, an urgent care center is located in a retail space and often refers its walk-in patients to another appropriate community health care provider – such as an imaging center or an orthopedic specialist – for many orthopedic injuries, from broken bones to sprained ankles.
Orthopedic urgent care centers, on the other hand, tend to be located within larger orthopedic or medical facilities in which they serve as an entrée to an orthopedic practice. In fact, some hospitals provide ortho urgent care in addition to conventional care centers as a gateway to hospital services.
While it is true that both types of urgent care facilities treat orthopedic injuries, only orthopedic urgent care centers are designed exclusively for treating both acute and chronic musculoskeletal injuries. You are not waiting in line with or behind someone suffering from the flu or a stomach ailment, for example.
Many minor breaks and sprains can be treated at an urgent care clinic as long as the break isn’t an open fracture – where bone is protruding through the skin – or there isn’t any other deformity.
Conversely, an orthopedic urgent care offers prompt specified care for all types of orthopedic injuries. Whereas a physician at an urgent care center will patch you up and may refer you to an orthopedic specialist for continued care, a specialist at an orthopedic urgent care center will examine you, provide a diagnosis, treatment, and continued care all under one roof.
Bottom line: Orthopedic urgent care providers are specially-trained in bone, muscle, and joint injuries. They deliver same-day treatment, on-site X-rays, and should it be necessary, follow-up care with an orthopedic specialist. An urgent care provider will refer you to an orthopedic specialist anyway, so you might as well cut out the middle man and receive seamless specialized care from the start.
The Right Choice for Orthopedic Injury
Of course, if you have a major, life-threatening musculoskeletal injury that occurs after hours, you should go to the nearest emergency room for treatment. Otherwise, you’ll receive specified care with less waiting time and cost than an emergency room visit, by heading straight to an orthopedic urgent care center.
The Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs caters to both the world’s elite athletes and all those who need the best care. If you sustain an injury to your bones or joints, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons will diagnose the condition and explain your treatment options. Call us at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.