When to Visit the Iowa Ortho Urgent Injury Clinic vs. When to Go to the Emergency Room Urgent Injury Clinic
When to Visit the Iowa Ortho Urgent Injury Clinic vs. When to Go to the Emergency Room

Accidents happen, and when they do, it’s important to know where to turn for the right medical care. When you have an orthopedic injury, the decision between going to an orthopedic urgent care clinic and heading to the emergency room can sometimes be a tough call to make. Here are some factors to help you decide whether you should visit the Iowa Ortho Urgent Injury Clinic (UIC) or go to the emergency room.

Iowa Ortho Urgent Injury Clinic:

Our Urgent Injury Clinic is equipped to handle non-life-threatening musculoskeletal injuries promptly. These injuries often include fractures, sprains, strains, and sports-related injuries.

  1. Minor Fractures and Sprains: If you suspect a minor fracture or sprain, our UIC is an excellent option. We have an X-ray machine for imaging and can provide immediate care, including splinting or casting.
  2. Sports Injuries: Injuries sustained during sports activities, such as twisted ankles or pulled muscles, can often be effectively treated at our UIC. Our dedicated orthopedics providers have the expertise to help you.
  3. Non-Severe Joint Injuries: For non-severe injuries to joints like the shoulder, knee, or wrist, our UIC can provide specialized care, including diagnostic imaging. If it is determined that further treatment is needed, you will get an expedited appointment to see one of our orthopedic physicians.

Emergency Room:

There are extreme scenarios where our UIC would not be able to help you and you would need to seek treatment in an emergency room.

  1. Serious Fractures: If you suspect you have a severe fracture where bones are protruding from the skin, an emergency room is the right choice. Emergency rooms are staffed with trauma specialists and have the resources to manage complex fractures. Iowa Ortho has two dedicated orthopedic trauma surgeons who operate at Mercy Hospital and Mercy West Lakes and are here for you should you have a serious injury.
  2. Head and Spine Injuries: Injuries to the head or spine should ALWAYS be evaluated in an emergency room due to the potential for serious complications. Prompt medical attention is crucial to prevent further damage. Anytime you experience a loss of consciousness due to a head injury, you should seek care in the emergency room.
  3. Multiple Traumas: If you have multiple orthopedic injuries or other severe injuries such as a significant amount of bleeding, head to the emergency room.
  4. A Serious Fall by an Elderly Person: In the event of a serious fall involving an elderly person, it’s important to know that age may affect bone strength, meaning someone who is older is more likely to have a bone break during a fall. Should you or a loved one experience a scary fall, seek attention in the emergency room. This is especially important for addressing major injuries such as a broken hip. Additionally, you may consider a more thorough examination if the fall wasn’t caused by a simple trip. It’s advisable to determine if the fall resulted from another problem like a neurological or cardiac episode. This ensures that comprehensive care is tailored to your specific circumstances.

If you have an injury that can be treated in our UIC, please feel free to walk in anytime, Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 7 PM, or reserve a timeslot on our website.