What to Expect at an Orthopedic Urgent Care Visit

Illness and injury can often appear out of the blue. Your partner may stumble and twist their ankle as they carry groceries up a flight of stairs. Or your child may get a knee injury during a soccer game.

Knowing where to go for care can be difficult when these types of wounds occur, especially if the symptoms seem severe and you need assistance when your primary care office is no longer open for the day. Even if the injury is not life-threatening, you need to treat the potential damage, pain and swelling immediately.

After an orthopedic injury such as a sprain, strain or fracture, your best choice is an orthopedic urgent care such as Ortho OIC. The providers at Ortho OIC attend to musculoskeletal conditions, such as sprains and strains and injuries to the joints, muscles, nerves and tendons. From school sports to minor injuries, seeing an orthopedic practitioner at Ortho OIC can make a difference in a speedy recovery and reduce your pain levels.

02 Orthopedic Urgent Care Is A Convenient Alternative

Orthopedic urgent care is a convenient alternative to your primary care doctor and the emergency room for orthopedic emergencies. If you have ever experienced a broken bone, fracture or injury, you know you are not always able to receive help immediately. To receive medical attention, you’d have to get an appointment with your primary care doctor for a referral for an orthopedic specialist or go to the emergency room and wait to receive care. 

Either option is time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you are experiencing a lot of pain. Orthopedic urgent care offers immediate care and access to specialty doctors and nurses so you can be confident you are receiving an accurate diagnosis. By choosing an orthopedic urgent care center such as Ortho OIC, you can receive treatment for various concerns such as broken bones, arthritis, ACL issues, non-life-threatening accident injuries and meniscus tears without needing to go to the emergency room.

What to Expect at Your Appointment

Your physician, physical therapist and staff are members of a team that will help you move toward your goal of increased mobility. However, as with anything, it helps to know how to prepare for an orthopedic appointment. During your orthopedic urgent care appointment, you can expect the following:

Bring Your Documents

As a new patient, you’ll have to fill out information regarding personal details, like your address, and insurance information. Make a checklist of everything you need to bring a few days before your appointment. Some documents you may wish to collect before your visit to the office include:

  • Insurance cards and photo ID: Have your driver’s license or photo ID as well as any insurance cards and information. Minors receiving treatment should also bring their legal guardian’s insurance and ID.
  • Medical records: Bring all relevant documents from other physicians, such as medical records, copies of X-rays or any lab tests.
  • Medication list: Bring a written list of any over-the-counter medications, vitamin supplements, herbs or prescription medications you are taking.

Depending on your needs, you may also wish to bring a family member or friend to provide assistance walking, using the restroom or completing paperwork. If your physician needs to keep any of your documents, ask for a copy so you can keep them for later reference.

Explain Any Concerns

Once you’re taken back for your appointment, a doctor or nurse may ask about your condition and the reason for your visit. As you prepare for your appointment, take some time to write down everything you need to tell your doctor and care team. Some information you should tell your doctor includes:

  • Length of time you’ve been experiencing pain
  • How far the pain extends to
  • The type of pain you’re feeling

As you write down your symptoms, try to think of everything you’ve been feeling, from intense pain to radiating discomfort. Being honest will allow your team to plan an accurate course of action to provide effective care.

Think of Questions

Before your appointment, brainstorm questions and write any down. You can then ask these questions of your nurse or doctor. Some questions you may ask include the following:

  • What technology or treatments will help my condition?
  • Are any habits holding me back from healing?
  • Do you know of others who successfully healed or recovered from my situation?
  • How can I adapt to my restrictions?
  • Are there any foods I can eat to help me heal?

As you make your list, asking those around you for advice and input may be wise. Having your list ready also makes you less likely to forget questions at your appointment.

Be Ready for More Testing

Since your doctor wants you to heal effectively, you may be subject to further examination and testing after your initial exam. Just in case, you might wear comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothes. It is also wise to call the office ahead of time to learn if there are any eating restrictions or other requirements.

Record All Suggestions

The fastest way to heal is by listening to your doctor. As you discuss treatment options with your doctor, write down their suggestions for future reference. It’s also wise to write down your progress and any concerns you may have in between appointments to give your doctor an accurate assessment of your progress during your follow-up appointments.

Orthopedic Urgent Care vs. Urgent Care

Urgent care practices are generally in retail spaces and provide treatment for minor injuries and referrals to other health care providers in the community. Orthopedic urgent care centers are often standalone, fully equipped facilities. Orthopedic urgent care can also serve as a precursor to an orthopedic practice, and some hospitals offer orthopedic urgent care in addition to conventional hospital services. 

While both urgent care facilities provide treatment options for orthopedic injuries, orthopedic care centers exclusively treat musculoskeletal injuries. Many urgent care facilities also offer treatment for strains and breaks as long as the break does not protrude through the skin or there aren’t other major concerns. 

An orthopedic care center, however, offers care for even more musculoskeletal injuries. While urgent care may provide basic care before referring you to a local orthopedic specialist, an orthopedic care center can diagnose and treat your injury and provide continued care.

Despite the difference between urgent and orthopedic urgent care, it can still be challenging to determine what is an orthopedic emergency and which facility is best for your needs. Some of the ways to decide whether to go to the emergency room, urgent care or orthopedic urgent care include:

High-Energy vs. Low-Energy Injuries

If you experience an injury and require care, one of the first factors to consider is the level of trauma you’re experiencing from the injury. High-energy injuries involve speed and height, such as a fall off a ladder or a motor vehicle accident and require immediate attention. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may skip urgent care entirely and go to the emergency room to receive a CT scan or undergo surgery.

04 Low Energy Injuries

Patients who experience a low-energy injury, such as a trip and fall or a sprain, can receive treatment from orthopedic urgent care. Most fractures do not require emergency attention, and your orthopedic urgent care providers can offer efficient care and follow-up treatments. Some additional injuries orthopedic urgent care can treat include:


Since orthopedic injuries create varying degrees of pain, consider your pain levels when deciding which facility is best for your needs. If you are in pain but it is not life-threatening, it may be best to visit orthopedic urgent care.

Athletic Injuries

Most athletic orthopedic injuries that occur during sporting events may not require immediate emergency care. If you go to urgent care for an athletic orthopedic injury, they will most likely refer you to an orthopedic physician for care. By going to orthopedic urgent care first, you can potentially resume play faster.

03 Benefits Of Ortho Oic

Benefits of Ortho OIC

Ortho OIC is proud to provide comprehensive orthopedic care on-site in Arlington, Virginia. Our team of expert physicians can treat minor wounds and provide services such as casting and splinting for patients with or without an appointment. Some additional benefits of choosing us for your care needs include:

Safety and Priority

Anyone who has visited an emergency room knows they can quickly overcrowd with patients, leading to long waiting times. Having to wait while doctors attend to serious injuries means that while you may be in incredible pain, you may not see a doctor as quickly as you would like. At Ortho OIC, you will not have to contend with a wide variety of injuries or as many patients, meaning you will be a priority and receive care as soon as possible.

Access to Specialty Care

While an urgent care center is excellent for general sickness and pain, the providers may not have the knowledge or equipment to treat the unique injuries or conditions specific to orthopedics. At Ortho OIC, our dedicated specialists can provide an accurate diagnosis. We can also start your treatment during your initial visit so you can get back to feeling your best as soon as possible. As a one-stop shop for your orthopedic needs, we can also perform follow-up appointments to ensure you are healing correctly.

On-Site Services

Ortho OIC hosts a variety of equipment, such as X-rays and casting equipment. Since all our equipment is on-site, you do not have to worry about long wait times and can get back to feeling your best sooner.

Save Money

A visit to the ER, even for something as small as a sprain, can result in high medical bills. You may also receive multiple invoices from the X-ray specialists, pain specialists and supplies such as wraps and crutches. At Ortho OIC, we help to reduce costs and may only require a co-pay, depending on your insurance and care needs. 

Flexible Hours

Ortho OIC offers flexible hours and accepts walk-in appointments. If you need to make an appointment, you are welcome to make an appointment online or with your smartphone with our online registration. We are also open later than most primary care offices, making us a flexible choice for all of your orthopedic needs.

Common Questions About Ortho OIC

The following are common questions regarding the Ortho OIC clinic and orthopedic urgent care. 

What Does an Orthopedic Doctor Do?

Orthopedic doctors specialize in musculoskeletal injuries of the bones, joints, nerves and tendons. Some of the main actions an orthopedic doctor performs are:

  • Manage pain
  • Improve range of motion
  • Treat and prevent injuries

Do You Treat Workplace Injuries?

Ortho OIC is proud to treat a variety of workplace injuries. Some of the top workplace injuries Ortho OIC treats include:

  • Repetitive motions
  • Injuries due to equipment or objects
  • Injuries from equipment compression
  • Slips or trips
  • Roadway incidents
  • Exertions and bodily reactions
  • Injuries from falling equipment or objects
  • Falls to lower levels
  • Same level falls
  • Overexertion

What Insurance Does Ortho OIC Accept?

We accept most major insurance companies to ensure all patients receive the necessary care. If you have any insurance questions, please complete our online contact form, and one of our team members will be in touch as soon as possible.  

What Services and Treatments Are Available?

Knowing when to go to orthopedic urgent care can save you time when seeking treatment. Ortho OIC provides treatment for the following injuries and conditions:

  • Back, neck and spine injuries less than a month old
  • Back, neck and spine flare-ups from a previous condition
  • Worksite accidents
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Broken bones if the bone does not puncture the skin
  • Muscle sprains and strains
  • Dislocation
  • Pinched nerve
  • Swollen or painful joints
  • Ligament or meniscus tears

When Should I Go to the Emergency Room?

If you experience any of the following, it’s in your best interest to go to the emergency room instead of Ortho OIC:

  • Severe injuries from a motor vehicle accident
  • Acute neck or back pain with numbness, tingling or loss of consciousness
  • Crush injuries
  • Traumatic muscle, bone or ligament injuries with significant blood loss or deformity of the bone or joint
05 Schedule An Appointment At Ortho Oic

Schedule an Appointment at Ortho OIC

If you are experiencing a musculoskeletal injury, don’t delay receiving treatment. The earlier you visit Ortho OIC, the earlier we can diagnose and treat your condition. Our qualified physicians will provide thorough, accurate care and follow-up appointments to monitor your healing process. Schedule an appointment online or use our walk-in service today!