When to Go to an Urgent Care vs. ER for Orthopedic Injuries

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 42.2 million emergency room visits are injury-related. Of the millions of injuries that emergency rooms (ER) encounter each year, there are a substantial amount that could have been treated at an orthopedic urgent care. In doing so, patients could have saved time and money. In fact, there are several orthopedic-related injuries that can be safely, quickly, and effectively treated through urgent care. 

The problem for many people is not knowing what injuries an urgent care vs. ER can handle. When it comes to orthopedic injuries, how can you determine which facility is best? 

At EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region, our AccessOrtho urgent care facilities are staffed with physician assistants to help diagnose and treat a number of orthopedic injuries and conditions. We are here to help you identify when an injury can be addressed affordably at an urgent care facility, and when it is best to head to the ER.

When to Go to an Urgent Care vs. ER 

When you, your child, or someone you care about experiences an injury, the first thought may be to visit the ER. And, there are some instances when you should. There are, however, certain scenarios in which an injury is better served at an orthopedic urgent care. 

The advantage of an orthopedic trauma center often includes:

  • Reduced wait times
  • Specialized orthopedic care (in specific subspecialty areas pertaining to musculoskeletal issues)
  • Less exposure to contagious illnesses (as are often more prevalent in ER waiting rooms)
  • More reasonable costs

The last bullet-point is of particular interest and importance to many patients. The cost of an urgent care vs ER visit is widely different. Depending on the type of injury, the average ER visit begins around $1,000. Alternately, the average urgent care cost ranges from $50 to $100. 

Injuries Treated Through EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region AccessOrtho

When residents from the Triangle area experience an injury, they can take advantage of EmergeOrtho’s orthopedic urgent care services

We understand that injuries don’t simply happen during business hours. That’s why we always make patient-centered, personalized care a priority—no matter when or where an injury occurs! We also have a fully-staffed team of board-certified physicians and physician assistants, enabling us to treat a number of urgent orthopedic care options for breaks, sprains, strains, muscle pain, and even back pain.

Take a look at several injuries and conditions treated by our urgent care locations:

  • A patient with a wrapped hand and wrist injury consults with an orthopedic urgent care doctor. Broken bones
  • Cast or wound dressing problems
  • Closed fractures (in which bone does not break the skin)
  • Cuts and lacerations
  • Foot and ankle injuries
  • Hand and wrist injuries
  • Injured joints 
  • Neck and low back pain 
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Sprains 
  • Strains

Injuries and Conditions That Should be Treated in the ER

As you can tell from the list above, there are several orthopedic issues that can be addressed at an urgent care. There are some health emergencies, however, that should be treated exclusively in a hospital emergency room, which include:

  • Amputations (partial or full)
  • Chest pain and injuries
  • Compartment syndromes
  • Head or facial trauma
  • Motor vehicle injuries (immediately following an accident)
  • Neurovascular injuries
  • Open fractures (when the bone protrudes from the skin)
  • Shoulder dislocations

More AccessOrtho Benefits

Triangle Region urgent care centers are fully equipped and staffed for walk-in traffic. We see our patients as quickly as possible—typically in less than one hour. We also make accessibility and affordability a priority. No matter what injury you experience, it is our goal to help you Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better.

If you would like more information on the advantages and comparisons of urgent care vs. ER visits for orthopedic injuries, call us any time at 919-220-5255. Or, for a non-emergency related visit, schedule a consultation now.