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The Difference Between Orthopedic Urgent Care and Regular Urgent Care

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.

Foot Care for Arthritis

We rely on our feet for stability and movement. Feet are complex structures that support our weight and provide the ability to move in amazing ways. In fact, there are 28 bones and more than 30 joints in each foot! Although we take them for granted when everything feels fine, feet are unfortunately more prone to injury and conditions such as arthritis. Possible consequences of arthritis of the foot include pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of mobility. Proper foot care for arthritis can help minimize these symptoms.

Types of foot arthritis

There are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis that can affect the joints of the foot, but most cases belong to one of three categories: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and posttraumatic arthritis.

 

Osteoarthritis is the most common, caused by wear and tear of the joints over time. Most people with osteoarthritis are over 50 but it can occur in younger people. Repeated stress of the joints wears away the cartilage in one or more joints. The bones of the joint then rub together painfully and bone spurs may develop. This condition may result in a bunion.

 

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder. Nobody knows the exact cause, but it is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Often beginning in the foot, the immune system attacks the synovium, or lining of the joints. This causes painful swelling that can result in permanent deformity.

 

Posttraumatic arthritis develops after an injury, usually a fracture. People who have had an injury to the foot are much more likely to develop arthritis later on. This type of arthritis involves the wearing away of cartilage, similar to osteoarthritis. It can occur at any age if there has been a foot injury.

 

Foot arthritis care

Although there is no cure for arthritis, there are steps you can take to relieve pain and increase flexibility.

 

Weight loss – obesity increases the risk of developing arthritis due to increased pressure on the joints. Losing weight, even a small amount, can make a big difference in reducing pressure and pain.

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen can be very effective in reducing swelling and relieving pain.

Physical therapy and exercise can increase mobility through flexibility and strengthening of supporting muscles.

Changing activities – If high impact activities are part of your routine, consider changing to something less likely to put stress on the joints of your feet. Walking, swimming, and yoga are good examples or exercises that are low-impact.

Orthotic devices and comfortable shoes – shoe inserts can relieve pressure on damaged joints and reduce pain when walking. High heels and point-toed shoes should be avoided. Shoes should be wide enough so that your foot is not being squeezed (especially if you have a bunion) with a square-toed front.

Apply cold packs – Cold helps reduce swelling and numbs painful joints, especially after you’ve been on your feet for a significant period of time.

Assistive devices – a cane can be a good way to reduce the amount of weight placed on your foot when walking.

 

If you have arthritis of the foot, your doctor can help determine the best treatment plan for your unique condition and activities. At the Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence, our caring providers are experts in all kinds of foot and ankle conditions, including arthritis. In the Colorado Springs area, call (719) 623-1050 for an appointment today.

Can Scoliosis Occur Later in Life?

Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves to the left or right. It can be slight or severe, and there may or may not be a defined reason for developing the condition. Most of the time, scoliosis develops around the time of puberty. Adolescent girls get scoliosis more than boys, and children more than adults. In rare cases, scoliosis can also develop during adulthood.

Your spine has natural curves, like an S, that gently support your body and its movement. When a person has scoliosis, a sideways curvature is present. Some of the symptoms of scoliosis include pain, tingling in the extremities, and noticeable abnormalities in posture (like uneven shoulders or stooping). Nobody knows why people develop scoliosis, but there is some evidence of hereditary factors. 

There are two types of scoliosis, idiopathic and degenerative. Idiopathic scoliosis usually develops in and is diagnosed in young adolescents. Idiopathic scoliosis may not be diagnosed until adulthood, either because there may have been no symptoms for many years, or the curvature has become more pronounced.

Degenerative scoliosis is more likely to occur in adults. Just like many orthopedic conditions faced by older adults, degenerative scoliosis is preceded by wearing down of the cartilage between the bones of the spine. The spinal bones collapse against each other and can deviate to the side. Osteoarthritis of the spine results in scoliosis for some people. Some patients will also have osteoporosis also add the possible complication of a fracture due to the pressure on the spinal curvature. But just as idiopathic scoliosis may not cause any symptoms or discomfort, the same is true for degenerative scoliosis. There is no need for treatment if it is not causing the patient any issues with pain or mobility. Of course, a patient is unlikely to seek treatment and be diagnosed if there are no troubling symptoms.

Some possible reasons for the increase in cases of adult scoliosis are that people are living longer, and more active lives. Wear and tear of the cartilage in the back happens more quickly when there is more movement, such as from running, playing sports, or just walking. People also are more likely to seek out help for back pain than they may have been in the past. As the field of orthopedic medicine develops and specialists are more widely available, people increasingly know where to go with their back pain and they have more trust in orthopedic physicians who can help.

The severity of scoliosis is measured in degrees that the spine moves away from the center. If the curve is less than 40 degrees, most of the time conservative methods of treatment are effective in reducing or eliminating symptoms and preventing further curvature. Conservative treatments may include medication, physical therapy, or braces to provide stability and decrease pain. Surgical correction is a possible treatment for severe cases of scoliosis. Spinal surgery carries a significant risk of complications, so it is not normally considered unless there is severe pain or deformity. Each case is unique, so the surgery is performed with the goal of preventing further pain and damage in addition to correcting the abnormalities. 

Patients in the Colorado Springs area who have sports injuries or any orthopedic injury trust the Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence to provide the best care. If you have an orthopedic injury or condition, call (719) 623-1050 for an appointment today.

Could You Be Experiencing Patellofemoral Knee Pain?

The knee is made up of bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, all working as one. What makes knee injuries complicated is they could be caused by stress or damage to any of these parts. The knee sits in the middle of three bones: the tibia (your shinbone), the femur (your thighbone), and the patella (the kneecap). The patella is a flat and round bone that protects the knee joint.

What is the patella, and what causes patellofemoral pain?

The patella is a small bone located in front of the knee joint, where the thighbone (femur) and shinbone (tibia) meet. It protects the knee and connects the muscles in the front of the thigh to the tibia. Patellofemoral pain is the medical term used when pain occurs at the front of the knee, around the kneecap (patella), without signs of any damage or other problems in the knee joint.

Knee pain affects people differently. This type of pain is due to a combination of different factors which increase the pressure between the kneecap (patella) and the lower part of the thigh bone (femur). This may happen due to overuse, during a fall, running, cycling, squatting and going up and down stairs.

The most common symptoms of a patellar fracture are pain and swelling in the front of the knee. Other symptoms may include:

  • Bruising
  • Inability to straighten the knee or keep it extended in a straight leg raise
  • Inability to walk

Unfortunately, injury can cause the patella to fracture. A patellar fracture is a break in the kneecap, and it is often very painful. Since the patella acts as a shield for your knee joint, it is vulnerable to fracture if you fall directly onto your knee; or even hit it against the dashboard in a vehicle collision. A patellar fracture is a serious injury that can make it difficult or even impossible to straighten your knee or walk.

Treatment:

  •         Physiotherapy
  •        Pain Killers (Anti-Inflammatory Meds or Tylenol)
  •        Limited movement
  •         Taping of the patella

Some simple patellar fractures can be treated by wearing a cast or splint until the bone heals. In most patellar fractures, however, the pieces of bone move out of place when the injury occurs. For these more complicated fractures, surgery is needed to restore and stabilize the kneecap, to remove bone fragments, and allow for the return of function.

To learn more about what to do for your patella pain, call Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.

Tips to Help You Bounce Back from Knee Pain

If you ever had any sort of injury, especially a knee injury, you probably appreciate how your knees power you through various sports and activities: kicking, jumping, running, and pivoting. To avoid knee injuries, it helps to understand how your knees work and what you can do to protect them.

When it comes to dealing with any type of injury, the knee is often one of the biggest problem areas of the body. The first thing to understand about knee health is that the knee is a stable joint that functions and exists directly between two very mobile joint the hip and the ankle. If the hip or ankle are injured, mobility of the knee can become limited.

The knee is a joint, the largest joint in the body. Your knees provide stability and allow your legs to bend, swivel, and straighten. The knee is made up of bones, cartilage, muscles, ligaments, and tendons, all working as one. What makes knee injuries complicated is they could be caused by stress or damage to any of these parts. The knee sits in the middle of three bones: the tibia (your shinbone), the femur (your thighbone), and the patella (the kneecap). The patella is a flat and round bone that protects the knee joint.

No matter what your age, you have likely experienced some sort of knee pain. Whether you are an athlete who experiences occasional soreness, or you live with chronic pain from a condition like arthritis, there are solutions to fit your needs. Here are some tips to help you bounce back from your knee pain.

  •  Tip #1: Relieve the pain in some way, and remember the RICE method:

R- Rest and reduce your activity

I- Ice joints that feel swollen, tender, or achy. Use ice for no more than 20 minutes at a time

C- Compress the injured area with a bandage or brace to keep swelling down and provide support.

E- Elevate injured areas above the heart, if possible, to reduce swelling.

  • Tip #2: Properly warm up and stretch before and after activities or sports
  • Tip #3: Maintain a healthy weight through proper diet and exercise
  • Tip #4: Participate in regular activity at least three times per week
  • Tip #5: Wear comfortable shoes with good support, or consider orthotic inserts
  • Tip #6: Use the correct techniques or positions during activities so that you do not strain your muscles

To learn about what may be causing your knee pain and how to avoid it, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence at (719) 623-1050 to request an appointment, or request one online.

Standard Shoulder Replacement Vs Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Your shoulder joint is composed of four joints and three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humorous (upper arm bone).  An edge of the scapula, called the acromion, forms the top of the shoulder. Your shoulder happens to encompass the most movable joints in your body, but can become unstable and the site of many injuries, such as sprains, strains, dislocations, separations, torn rotator cuffs, bursitis, tendonitis, frozen shoulder, fractures and arthritis.

In 2006, research showed that approximately 7.5 million people went to the doctor’s office for a shoulder problem, including shoulder and upper arm sprains and strains. Shoulder injuries are frequently caused by athletic activities that involve excessive or repetitive overhead motion.

Most problems in the shoulder involve the muscles, ligaments, and tendons, rather than the bones. Arthritis, injury, and repetitive motions such as those used during sports or work-related activities are the leading causes of shoulder or elbow pain, stiffness, and restriction of movement. Athletes are especially susceptible to shoulder problems.  Shoulder problems for athletes can often develop slowly, through repetitive and intensive training routines. People may also underestimate the extent of their injury, where it almost becomes second nature the longer you live with steady pain, weakness in the arm, or limitation of joint motion. There are two categories of shoulder injuries – instability and impingement.

What’s the difference between a standard total shoulder replacement and a reverse total shoulder replacement?

In standard total shoulder replacement surgery, a metal ball is used to replace the head of the humorous. A high-strength plastic implant is used to replace the socket of the shoulder blade.

In reverse total shoulder replacement surgery, the location of the new ball and socket are on the opposite sides of a normal shoulder. Their positions are “reversed.” A new metal hemisphere is used to replace the socket of the shoulder blade, and a metal and high-strength plastic socket are used to replace the head of the humorous.

Which surgery is best?

The primary goal of both approaches is to relieve pain. Secondary goals are to improve motion, strength and function. Before any decision is made regarding the type of surgery, all nonsurgical options are approached first. Medications and physical therapy are tried first, and if the pain is still not significantly reduced, total shoulder replacement surgery is then considered.

The degree of damage to the rotator cuff is one of the key factors in deciding which type of total shoulder replacement surgery is the better option. Although standard shoulder replacement surgery reduces or eliminates pain and improves function, success depends on the condition of the rotator cuff. The more intact the rotator cuff is, the better the outcome.

Reverse total shoulder replacement surgery is the best option for patients with severe arthritis and a large rotator cuff tear. Despite the large rotator cuff tear, the change in position of the joint improves shoulder function and replacing the joint removes any arthritis. More than 90 percent of patients experience significant improvement in both shoulder pain and function, including the ability to raise their arm above the head.

To find out more information on whether Standard or Reverse Shoulder Replacement is right for you, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence to request an appointment.