Urgent Care Office Visits vs the ER

Posted on 06-20-2024 in Foot/Ankle, Running & Lisfranc Injury by Dr. Erik Nilssen, Dr. Sonya Ahmed

Often it can be challenging to know whether your ankle or foot injury requires a visit to the emergency room or if you can be treated in an orthopedic specialist’s office.

In contrast to a hospital emergency department, North Florida Bone & Joint Specialists can provide urgent care visits in a less chaotic environment with significantly lower wait times and more focused and specialized care. Depending on how full our schedule is, we can generally see patients the same or the next business day during our regular operating hours.

We most commonly schedule urgent care visits for patients who have experienced the following types of injuries:

  • Sprains, Strains, Tendon Injuries, Fractures, and Dislocations of the Foot: Also known as a Lisfranc Injury, one or more metatarsal bones are displaced from the tarsal bones, potentially causing swelling, pain, bruising and/or abnormal widening of the foot. While the most common cause is car accidents, these injuries also occur from running, horseback riding, and contact sports. These injuries can often need surgical attention.
  • High Ankle Sprain: Also known as a Syndesmosis Injury, it is a result of ligament damage in the ankle and commonly occurs when you participate in activities or sports. Often this results in pain, potential instability and swelling, with sometimes the inability to even weight bear.
  • Low Ankle Sprain: When you injure one or more ligaments in your ankle, typically on the outside of your ankle, it is known as a Low Ankle Sprain. If this is done repeatedly without the appropriate treatment or rehab, you can develop ankle instability. These usually occur with a sudden twist, fall or blow that causes your ankle partially or even completely to come out of place. Wearing inappropriate shoes, participating in sports or walking/running on uneven surfaces are typically to blame for these injuries.
  • Peroneal Tendon Injuries: The peroneal tendon’s primary function is to stabilize the ankle and foot, protecting them from sprains. Dislocation or subluxation and tears of the peroneal tendons are common in athletes who participate in sports that require constant ankle motion, stability and cutting forces. It can be chronic (coming on gradually) or acute (coming on suddenly).

If your emergency is outside of our regular business hours or your injuries are grave (internal bleeding, unconsciousness, chest pain, headache, inability to move limbs), please seek help at your nearest emergency room or call 911.

We also offer routine clinic appointments for the following that don’t require immediate attention:

  • Pain or a problem that has been going on for a few weeks and is getting worse
  • Pain or issue that is bothersome but has not stopped you from being able to perform daily activities or work
  • Pain or problems related to chronic deformities such as flat feet, high arches, bunions, etc.

If North Florida Bone & Joint Specialists can assist you with your foot or ankle urgent care needs or you would like to schedule a routine clinic visit, please schedule an appointment online or call us at 850-435-4800. Dr. Erik Nilssen and Dr. Sonya Ahmed look forward to providing you with the most innovative treatment options available, including minimally invasive and surgical intervention treatment options.

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