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Breaks, Sprains, and Strains: Urgent Care or ER?

  • Category: Injuries
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Alex Murray
Breaks, Sprains, and Strains: Urgent Care or ER?

Now that summer is here, most families are eager to spend time outdoors. While that means there are ample opportunities for fun, it also means there are ample opportunities to get hurt. Broken bones, sprains, and strains are common at any time of year, of course, but there are plenty of activities during this time of year that can result in serious injury. Sports, hiking, swimming, and even running around in the yard sprinklers can all pose a safety risk. So if your child is injured while playing a game of soccer or you fall and hurt yourself while on a hiking trail, what’s the game plan? Should you head straight to the emergency room or could your injury be easily treated at one of the many urgent care locations in your area? This post may help you decide.

When to Seek Medical Treatment at Urgent Care

Approximately 44% to 65% of all ER episodes could actually have been treated at urgent care clinics. While that doesn’t mean that every injury can be treated here, it does mean that many non-life-threatening conditions can be. In many circumstances, sprains, strains, fractures, and broken bones can be treated by urgent care medical staff — particularly if they are in the hand, foot, ankle, or wrist. As you may know, the benefits of urgent care clinics include the ability to take X-rays and even set a cast. If you aren’t sure whether your injury is too severe to be treated at a walk-in clinic, don’t worry. One of the benefits of urgent care clinics that are housed in the same location as emergency rooms is that you won’t have to go very far for treatment!

When to Go to the Emergency Room For Care

Severe bone breaks (even those on the extremities) are best treated by your local emergency department. This is certainly true if you experience a bone break in areas like the spine, skull, pelvis, ribs, or sternum, as well as in multiple areas on the body. You should also go to the emergency room if your bone break has penetrated the skin. Many urgent care facilities are not able to sedate patients, which makes it more difficult to treat more severe breaks. However, this does not mean you should automatically head to the ER if you think you’ve broken a bone. With the most severe (or potentially severe) types of injuries, emergency treatment is recommended. But less substantial breaks — and certainly sprains and strains — can be assessed and treated at urgent care facilities.

One of the many benefits of urgent care is that you can save time and money without sacrificing on quality of treatment. If you or someone you loved gets hurt this summer, you may very well be able to pursue fast treatment at a walk-in clinic. That said, more severe injuries may be best served by emergency departments. With Legacy ER, however, you really don’t have to choose between the two. We offer both types of facilities under one roof in order to serve our patients’ needs. To find out more, please get in touch with us today.