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The Benefits of Going to an Orthopaedic Urgent Care

Americans work hard, and they play hard. So when an orthopaedic accident or injury occurs at home, on the job, or while exercising or playing sports, many choose to go to the Emergency Room, because any injury that sets you back is an emergency. Right? Not necessarily. Those with orthopaedic injuries, such as a sprained or strained ankle, a broken bone, a dislocated shoulder, or some other musculoskeletal damage, are now looking to urgent care facilities whereas before they would either head to the ER, or wait to see their orthopedists. If your orthopaedic emergency is not life-threatening, you may want to consider the benefits of bypassing the ER and heading over to an orthopaedic urgent care center.  Here’s why.

Shorter Wait Times

Emergency Rooms will always put the most serious cases as their first priority – that means cardiac arrest or a car accident will always trump a dislocated shoulder, and for good reason. Even so, depending on when and where you go for treatment, you may have a long wait to see an orthopaedic specialist to help diagnose your injury. And then guess what? You will be referred right back to your personal orthopedist who may not be able to see you for follow-up for days, or weeks, after the injury or accident occurred.  With an orthopaedic urgent care facility, orthopaedic specialists are standing by, ready to diagnose and stabilize your injury. It’s what they do and you can be sure you are going to be their top priority.

Proper Diagnostics

At a non-orthopaedic urgent care facility, they may not have the right diagnostic equipment on hand or the expertise or equipment to stabilize or treat your injury. On the other hand, an orthopaedic urgent care provides specialized orthopaedic care that a general urgent care center cannot. An orthopaedic-focused clinic is designed to deliver cost-effective, quality care in a timely manner. Unlike an ER or regular urgent care facility, an orthopaedic urgent care allows its patients to see the right specialist and receive the specialized care they need immediately.

Top Notch Specialists

The physicians at an orthopaedic urgent care center are board-certified or fellowship-trained in orthopaedic medicine, meaning they specialize in diagnosing and treating injuries and conditions that affect the entire musculoskeletal system including bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and related tissue. In the event an orthopedist is not available, the orthopaedic urgent care will typically have a skilled and trained physician’s assistant on hand with years of clinical diagnosis and surgical and non-surgical treatment experience.

Cost

If you are experiencing a life-threatening orthopaedic emergency, by all means head straight to the ER. But if life and limb are not at stake, visit the orthopaedic urgent care, not only for the reasons mentioned above, but because it could save you, quite literally, thousands of dollars. Depending on your insurance, most urgent care facilities are usually the cost of a co-pay or applied to your deductible, while ER visits are itemized and can be very costly.

Follow-through

Depending on the orthopaedic urgent care facility, you may be able to continue with that practice from diagnosis through treatment (which may include surgery), as well as physical therapy. Some orthopaedic urgent care facilities also specialize in sports medicine, meaning that a collaborative team of specialists can help athletes at all levels work through pain and injury back to optimal performance. Plus, all records are kept in one place, and doctors and therapists are able to confer – in real time – to ensure you are provided the full range of orthopaedic care.

Why the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence?

Wanting patients to always have access to quality healthcare, Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence’s Dr. Jarrod Harrall noticed a gap in the local healthcare system regarding orthopaedic urgent care and primary care for athletes. He realized that athletes and active individuals were constantly searching for the right place to go, other than the emergency room, where they could access immediate care for sports injuries, and parents a place where their children could get seen immediately for the nicks and bruises that accompany growing up.

Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence is the best of both words. And, since the urgent care center is affiliated with our general practice, it not only allows patients to receive care quickly and in a more cost-efficient manner, but also to see a specialist with a same-day or next-day appointment, or as a walk-in. This integration helps facilitate our goal of providing the highest quality patient-centered care and expedite the recovery process.

For your convenience, you can request an appointment online or call us at (719) 394-4800. Please call ahead as we are not a walk in clinic. For urgent and acute care needs we offer same-day and next-day appointments.

Preventing Sports Injuries of the Hand

There is always a risk of injury when playing sports. Twisted ankles, torn ACLs, stress fractures. But rarely does a sportsman consider an injury of the hand. Until it happens to them! Let’s take a look at some common sports injuries of the hand and what you can do to prevent them from ruining your game.

Common Sports Injuries of the Hand

·      Hand and Wrist fractures (or broken bones) occur when too much pressure is put on bones from overuse, falling, or smashing into something.

·      Skier’s thumb – This is an acute injury to the ligament that sits at the base of the thumb. When the thumb is significantly and suddenly bent backwards, this ligament can tear, causing a lot of pain and weakness in the thumb.

·      Jamming fingers happens when the fingers experience blunt force or hard impact. Some symptoms include pain, swelling, reduced range of motion, and tenderness in the finger.

·      Nerve damage. Certain activities can result in nerve damage due to pressure and vibration shooting through the hands. One example is handlebar palsy, an injury that occurs from prolonged compression of the nerves in the wrist coupled with vibrations.

·      Tendonitis happens when a tendon becomes inflamed. Tendonitis in the hand generally is a result of overuse. Symptoms include pain, inflammation, and swelling in the hand.

·      Cuts and lacerations. Depending on the sport, you can expect cuts, lacerations, as well as scrapes and blackened fingernails.

·      Blisters and calluses. Blisters can happen when the skin chafes against a foreign surface, causing the skin to fill with liquid and eventually break or scrape away. Calluses occur when the skin becomes thick and hardens due to friction occurring over a period of time. While blisters are usually unwelcome, many athletes pursue calluses to make their hands less prone to blister.

Preventing Sports Injuries of the Hand

Preventing sports injuries of your hands often is a result of applying common sense and sensibilities. Other times, hand injuries are nearly inevitable due simply by the nature of the sport. Either way, here are some ways to prevent your hands from getting injured.

·      Following the Rules means playing sports safely. While certain rules seem like a hindrance, remember they are put in place to prevent injury.  Be sure to follow the rules of the sport, including positioning your hands correctly when playing to ensure you don’t injure them.

·      Wear Protective Gear – Wearing the right equipment can help reduce the risk of injury to your hands. If necessary, wrapping may prevent certain injuries from occurring, especially in sports that require close contact with equipment or surfaces, such as gymnastics, climbing and boxing. Other hand protection may prevent vibrations from damaging nerves. Plus, gloves keep hands warm, preventing frostbite and ensuring the hands stay nimble.

·      Inspect Your Equipment. Never play with broken or damaged equipment. Always check your equipment for splinters, shards, missing or damaged grips and proper padding. Make sure the equipment you are using fits properly, or is appropriate for your size, weight, game and ability. 

·      Stretch and Strengthen Hands –Stretching and warm ups of the hands ensures flexibility so there is less chance of injury while playing. Strengthening hands ensures you are less prone to injury, as well as have a better grip on equipment.

·      Avoid Repetitive Motions – Many sports involve repetitive motions that can lead to overuse injury. Be sure to change things up when practicing and playing so you don’t use the same motions over and over again. This will not only make you a versatile player but also protect you from injuries.

·      Rest is crucial for healing and relaxing the body. If you play a sport that requires you to use your hands intensely, be sure to let your hands rest in between games and practices. This will help reduce wear and tear injuries as well as stress injuries.

Don’t let a sports injury sideline you from doing the activities you love. The Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs provides comprehensive orthopedic care to athletes at all levels and can help you prevent new injuries If you have suffered a sports related injury in your hand or anywhere else, call 719-623-1050 today to make an appointment. You can also request an appointment online.

Recovering from Hip Dislocation

A hip dislocation is a serious and painful injury. It is usually the result of some very strong trauma, as in the case of an automobile accident or a fall. When the smooth end of the femur, or thigh bone, is pushed out of the socket formed by the pelvis, the hip joint is said to be dislocated. Emergency treatment is necessary for this injury, and a healthy recovery is vital towards returning mobility and preventing chronic pain. 

It is possible for your doctor to realign the hip joint by hand, but because of the amount of force necessary to drive the joint out of place, there is usually at least one other injury involved. 90% of hip dislocations are posterior, where the femur is pushed behind the socket of the pelvis and 10% are anterior, where the femur is pushed forward from the pelvis. 

Often, a hip dislocation is accompanied by a fracture, either to the extremities or to part of the pelvis from the force that dislodges the femur. In this case, surgery may be necessary to correct the position of the hip and repair the fractured bone at the same time. That kind of fracture sometimes occurs when the knees impact an automobile’s dashboard when there is an accident. Safety belts and airbags are meant to help protect car riders from this type of injury.

The smooth covering of cartilage on the femur is also likely to suffer some damage from a hip dislocation. Nerves and ligaments that attach the parts of the hip and make it possible for movement are damaged and torn when the hip is dislocated, too. Regaining full ability to move without pain takes time. Recovering from a hip dislocation involves rest, medication to control swelling and pain, and will often benefit from physical therapy. You may use crutches or a cane to help balance during your recovery, and there may be some permanent nerve damage or arthritis that develops as a result of the injury. 

Hip dislocation requires emergency care from an orthopedic expert. The Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs cares for anybody in need of orthopedic care, from the victim of an auto accident to the world’s elite athletes. If you have an urgent orthopedic injury, call (719) 623-1050 today for an appointment.

When You Should See an Orthopedic Surgeon for Knee Pain

Knee pain tends to be a common problem for people that are active, have suffered an injury, or have put many years and miles on their legs. The knees bear most of your body weight, every moment that you’re upright, while allowing an extraordinary range of motion. Additional force applied through participation in sports, an auto or other accident, or just wear and tear as we get older can cause knee pain. While some medications and physical therapy can help with pain and reduced mobility, when is it time to see an orthopedic surgeon for knee pain?

If you suffer a sports injury or accident that injures your knee, you should see an orthopedic surgeon right away to prevent further damage and start the healing process immediately. If you have a repetitive stress injury or osteoarthritis, it may be harder to determine when enough is enough. The good news is that there are many treatment options available for knee pain that are extremely effective. And if you do need surgery, your orthopedic surgeon will be able to determine which procedure will be most helpful, with the least amount of disruption and rehabilitation time. 

Here are some of the knee conditions that orthopedic surgeons treat:

·        General knee pain

·        Acute and overuse injuries

·        Sports injuries

·        Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear

·        Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tear

·        Meniscus tear

·        Cartilage defects/flaps

·        Chondral defects

·        Patellar (knee cap) tendon tear

·        Bursitis

·        Osteoarthritis

·        Patellofemoral syndrome (pain below the knee cap)

Once you are examined by an orthopedic surgeon, some treatment options include physical therapy, injections (including viscosupplementation), or minimally-invasive surgery options. Arthroscopy can both diagnose and treat many injuries. A small tube-like instrument is inserted into a tiny incision, through which a camera shows the surgeon the inside of the knee. Damaged cartilage and tendons can be repaired by inserting precision tools through the arthroscope. Even partial and total knee replacement are now possible through minimally-invasive means, if necessary.

The Colorado Center for Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs cares for the world’s elite athletes and all who need the best care. If you have knee pain, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons will diagnose the condition and explain your treatment options. Call (719) 623-1050 today for an appointment.