Why It’s Better to Visit an Orthopedic Doctor for Suspected Broken Bones

January 20th, 2022 Becki Andrus
Why It's Better to Visit an Orthopedic Doctor for Suspected Broken Bones

Bone fractures are quite common and can affect people of all ages. Whether it’s a stress fracture, trauma injury, or bone disease, the weakness in the bone structure needs to be treated right away.

When an injury occurs, the first thought is that you should head to a local urgent care or emergency room. While these medical services are helpful for general health concerns and injuries, you might be better-served meeting with an orthopedic specialist instead.

Emergency Room vs. Orthopedic Services

Emergency medicine is excellent for immediate treatment, especially when the condition is life-threatening. For example, if you have a broken bone, you can definitely receive care in an ER or urgent care center.

While the doctors are highly trained, they don’t provide the specialized skill set you can receive from an orthopedic doctor. Most likely, the ER will offer general treatment to stabilize the bone, then recommend that you visit an orthopedic doctor to evaluate treatments and long-term care.

Since it’s likely that the emergency room will refer you to talk to an orthopedic specialist, you might save yourself a step (and the cost of an ER visit) by calling an orthopedic doctor directly. When bleeding and life-threatening conditions are ruled out, then contact our team at Orthopedic Associates right away for an immediate appointment.

Orthopedic Doctors: Bone Specialists

There are around 300 bones and joints in the body, all of which could result in pain due to different conditions and injuries. For example, when a bone breaks or a joint is damaged, it not only causes pain – but could also limit mobility now and in the future.

Orthopedic doctors specialize in bone and joint conditions, helping you maintain optimal strength and function. If you have a broken bone, visiting an orthopedic specialist is a preferred solution to minimize potential complications from this injury.

One of the most notable benefits of visiting an orthopedic doctor is that they have specialized training, education, and experience treating fractures and broken bones. Of course, you want the best possible results, which is why it makes sense to talk to a doctor who focuses on this topic specifically.

Remember: the sooner you meet with an orthopedic specialist, the more likely you will be able to have an optimal outcome from the treatment. Don’t delay scheduling an appointment if you are in pain or suspect that you have a broken bone.

Types of Bone Fractures

The type of injury you are experiencing is another factor that will determine the type of medical care you need. These are the two categories of bone fractures:

  • Closed Fracture: This type of fracture means that the bone is broken, but it didn’t come out of the skin. Closed fractures are the most common types of injuries and are the easiest to treat.
  • Open Fracture: This type of fracture means that the broken bone is coming out of the skin. Since it’s a severe injury, surgery is usually necessary to close the wound and reposition the bones.

An orthopedic surgeon will consult on open fractures and provide surgical treatments as needed. Closed fractures are also often referred to an orthopedic doctor to rule out potential complications from the break.

Each type of injury requires different treatments because of the unique nature of the bone break. Our team of orthopedic specialists uses digital imaging and state-of-the-art testing to learn more about the specific problem and design the best treatment plan for an optimal outcome.

How Severe is Your Injury?

Sometimes, the moderate or severe pain of a broken bone is an obvious signal that you need to visit a doctor. But there are other situations where fractures occur without causing debilitating pain and symptoms.

The level of pain and associated symptoms depend on your pain tolerance, the type of injury you have, and the location of the break.

So, even if the pain isn’t severe, it’s still a good idea to consult with an orthopedic doctor for a professional diagnosis.

Signs You Need Orthopedic Services for a Broken Bone

If you suspect that you or a loved one has a broken bone, what should you do? The most important thing is that you seek medical attention immediately.

Here are some guidelines to help you know when it’s time to talk to an orthopedic doctor:

  • Open Fracture: If the skin is damaged and/or you can see the bone sticking out, immediately go to the emergency room.
  • Other Symptoms: In addition to pain, watch for other symptoms that could indicate the severity of the injury. Examples include bruising, swelling, weakness, or immobility.
  • Pain Level: When the pain after an accident (such as a car accident, fall, or sports injury) is moderate or severe, seek medical services without delay. We can use digital imaging to determine if it’s a broken bone or a soft tissue injury.
  • Mild Pain: Even when the pain is mild after an accident, it’s a good idea to visit with an orthopedic specialist – especially if the pain doesn’t start to subside within a few hours. This type of injury isn’t as urgent as moderate or severe pain.

If you decide to go to the emergency room for immediate treatment, then visit an orthopedic doctor as soon as possible after these emergency services. It’s likely that your ER doctors will recommend an orthopedic specialist.

Broken Bone Treatments

What type of treatment will you receive for a broken bone? Here’s a quick overview of potential treatment options:

  • Cast: Fiberglass or plaster can be used to create a structure that holds the broken bone in place. Casting is an important step to improve immobilization and prevent muscle contractions.
  • Splints and Slings: Some body parts can’t be put in a cast, so a swing or splint is used instead. For example, a sling is used for a shoulder or arm break. A splint can hold the arm or leg straight and is often used for immediate treatment or after surgery while the swelling is going down.
  • Surgery: If the bone needs to be realigned, surgical methods might be necessary to reposition the bone and promote optimal healing. Equipment is often essential to hold the bones in the right position, such as screws, rods, plates, and/or frames.

Talk to a Local Orthopedic Specialist

Is it time for you to visit an orthopedic doctor? Schedule an appointment with our team for a correct diagnosis and optimal treatment plan. Call Orthopedic Associates for sports injuries, chronic pain, and more. You can book an appointment using our online form. Or call our office: (972) 420-1776.

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