When you have an orthopedic condition or injury, you need compassionate, quick, and effective medical care. So, when an issue develops, should you schedule an appointment at an orthopedic clinic or go to an orthopedic urgent care center? Let’s take a look at what the differences between these facilities are, so you can make a good judgment call on when it is appropriate to visit each.
What Is an Orthopedic Condition?
When you think of an orthopedic condition, you likely think of fractures. While this is true, orthopedics involves so much more than just bones, including:
- Skeletal muscles, the fibers which move your bones
- Ligaments, tissues which connect your bones and give your joints stability and strength
- Tendons, highly flexible cords of tissue that join muscles to bones
- Nerves, which send impulses from the brain to the spinal cord and throughout the body
- Joints, which support your body and give you mobility
An orthopedic condition may be acute, involving an injury from a motor vehicle or sports accident, for instance, or chronic, involving symptoms that last a long time. Acute injuries are sudden, while chronic conditions develop gradually. Examples include:
- Fractures of the hip, leg, ankle, spine, arm, wrist, shoulder, and more
- Sprains of the ankle, wrist, and knee
- Strains of various muscle groups (such as the erector spinae muscles of the lower back)
- ACL and meniscus tears of the knee
Conversely, you may suffer a chronic orthopedic problem such as arthritis, bursitis, kyphosis (forward bend in the spine), scoliosis (a congenital sideways spinal curvature), or a variety of other issues. Chronic problems progress over time and can involve substantial pain and loss of function.
What Can an Orthopedic Clinic Do for Me?
A regular orthopedic clinic offers a wide range of services. Most patients who visit orthopedic conditions schedule an appointment to get a diagnosis of symptoms and effective treatments. Most patients who schedule an appointment to see an orthopedic doctor don’t necessarily have an urgent need to see a doctor immediately. Different from a hospital ER, urgent care clinic, or primary care practice, an orthopedic clinic delivers:
- On-site X-rays, MRIs, and other kinds of imaging to aid in diagnosis of an acute or chronic problem
- Conservative and surgical treatments for a plethora of orthopedic injuries and conditions
- Follow-up for in-hospital, urgent care, and emergency room care
- Casting and other methods of immobilization for fractures, sprains, and post-operative needs
- Durable medical equipment, such as crutches, walkers, walking boots and bandages
- Physical therapy and programs of exercise and nutrition
Your orthopedic clinic will assist you on your path to recovery, providing pain management medications, MRI-guided injections, and state-of-the-art treatments like Viscosupplementation, and much more for long-term control of knee pain.
Examples of chronic conditions doctors at an orthopedic clinic can treat include:
- Frozen shoulder
- Ankle instability
- Recurrent dislocations of the shoulder
- Disorders of the articular cartilage in the knee
- Hamstring injuries
- Follow-up care after surgery
What Can Orthopedic Urgent Care Do for Me?
Orthopedic urgent care doctors diagnose and treat orthopedic problems that are not life-threatening but cause serious mobility limitations and pain. For instance, urgent care is the place to go for a closed fracture, a pinched nerve, sprains, strains, swollen/painful joints, and more. Athletes who get into accidents that result in serious pain often visit orthopedic urgent care centers.
Orthopedic urgent care centers have highly trained medical providers who know orthopedics very well and can treat serious issues that need treatment quickly.
Urgent care are designed to treat patients on a first-come-first-served basis. You don’t need an appointment to visit an urgent care center. This makes such clinics perfect for treating emergency or sudden injuries.
Your Orthopedic Doctor in Little Rock, Arkansas
Whether your orthopedic needs are acute or chronic, Bowen Hefley Orthopedics can provide you the services and treatments you need. Call for a consultation with Dr. Bill Hefley today at (800) 336-2412, or request an appointment online. We have two locations for your convenience: Little Rock and North Little Rock.