What Is Ortho Care? ER Vs Urgent Care Vs Orthopedic Care

Published: 14:50 pm, Tue December 13, 2022

How We Recommend Preparing For Joint Replacement Surgery

In the chaos of a traumatic injury, it can be hard to determine where you should go to seek treatment. Below, we’ll highlight different scenarios to help you better understand what type of care to seek. Then, we’ll provide you with more information on what ortho care is and when it’s time to seek an orthopedic specialist. 

After this blog, you can feel more confident and prepared to know where the best place for treatment is and what to expect at an orthopedic care center. 


Going to an Emergency Room

Sometimes, situations happen in a flash and you don’t feel like you have the time to thoroughly consider where you should go to get treatment. In these moments, it’s important to trust your gut. A majority of the time, these instances will likely lead you to the emergency room. 

Immediate, life-threatening situations should be treated in an emergency room. This includes choking, severe burns, and seizures. Essentially, if you believe you need rapid treatment, it’s best to go to the emergency room.

A scenario to go to the emergency room could include your spouse has received an electric shock which can cause internal problems as well as physical burns. 

Here’s another example, let’s say you break your wrist in the middle of the night and know you should see an orthopedic surgeon but the center isn’t open that late. You can opt to see an orthopedic physician at the emergency room

An emergency room visit will be one of the more expensive options, especially if you need an ambulance to drive you to the hospital. On average, an emergency room visit will cost above $1,000 and will differ depending on your treatment and insurance. 

the outside of an urgent care center

Going to an Urgent Care Center

On the other hand, less immediate situations, or less severe illnesses, can likely be treated at an urgent care center rather than the emergency room. Oftentimes urgent care centers are open 24 hours a day so it’s important to use your “gut instincts” to know whether the injury or illness needs to be treated as an emergency or not. 

Some instances in which you would want to go to an urgent care center are shortness of breath, persistent vomiting, and small cuts that may require stitches. Urgent care centers can more readily assist you with your treatment if your primary care doctor isn’t available. 

A scenario where you should go to an urgent care center is if you’ve been running a high fever and aren’t able to lower it and you’re feeling nauseous.

When to Seek Orthopedic Care

Now that you have a better understanding of whether you should seek treatment at an emergency or an urgent care center, we’re going to answer the question, what is ortho care? Where do you go if you’ve broken a bone, or fell at work and are experiencing bruising or swelling? 

The answer is an orthopedic care center. Total orthopedic care includes injuries surrounding your musculoskeletal system, or the following

  • Bones
  • Joints
  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Muscles 

It can sometimes be difficult to determine whether you should seek care from your primary doctor or an orthopedic urgent care center. This is where you should rate your pain and the severity to determine if you need immediate treatment or if you’re able to wait for an office visit. 

No matter what your pain levels are and where you decide to seek treatment, if the pain revolves around the areas mentioned above, it’s best to seek direct orthopedic care.

Walk-In Orthopedic Urgent Care

There are regular urgent care centers that have physicians that can deal with a variety of different injuries and illnesses. But, if you’re in need of specialized care because you’re experiencing pain in your joints, muscles, or ligaments, you can visit your local orthopedic care center. 

Below, we’ll cover some of the most common scenarios we see at our Granite Run Walk-In Orthopedic Urgent Care Center.

Joint Pain and Swelling

When there is a traumatic event to a joint, you may experience swelling and bruising which is a physical indication that something is wrong. This could happen from a fall, or from overusing the joint over a longer period of time. 

Sometimes, joint pain can start as more of an annoyance in your day-to-day life so you don’t think about seeking treatment immediately. However, without proper care, this pain can lead to a more serious injury. If you’re starting to get to the stage where you’re unable to complete daily tasks and are experiencing significant pain, it’s probably time to visit an orthopedic care center.

Broken Bones

If the bone isn’t noticeably out of place, it can be difficult to know if it’s broken. Another indication of a broken bone is serious discomfort and the area starts to swell and bruise. You may also start to feel faint or nauseous from the shock of the injury. 

If you hear a snap or grinding noise during impact, it’s definitely time to visit an orthopedic urgent care center where you can get specialized attention to your broken bone. Another benefit of going directly to an orthopedic specialist is they can create a personalized treatment plan for you. This can include everything from surgery to recovery with physical therapy if needed. 

a woman walking with crutches and a cast with an orthopedic specialist by her side.

Sprains and Strains 

Sprains and strains are slightly less severe than a broken bone, but can still cause a lot of discomfort and get worse if not treated properly. This type of injury is very common, especially in your ankle and foot. 

Similar to broken bones, you may experience some swelling and bruises from the impact. Additionally, direct orthopedic care allows you to have a solid understanding of the treatment you will need, from start to finish, so you can get back to being your best.

Sports or Work Injuries

In a variety of industries, you may find yourself getting injured during your work day. In the event of a traumatic injury, it’s likely you’ll be sent to urgent care so you can get a treatment plan started as soon as possible. 

Especially in youth sports or in young adults, it’s essential to take action during a sports injury before it potentially gets worse. There are two different types of sports injuries that are treated through direct orthopedic care. 

  • Major Injuries. This is when the injury happens during a specific incident. For example, your child is playing soccer and a ball hits them directly in the head. 
  • Overuse Injuries. This occurs when a muscle is reused and overstressed. For example, your child has been playing tennis for years and starts to feel pain when they extend their elbow. 

More often than not, we see major injuries in our walk-in orthopedic urgent care center and overuse injuries during an orthopedic office visit. However, if you or your child is experiencing immense pain, we recommend coming to our urgent care center. 

Orthopedic Specialists

If you’ve injured a part of your body that is covered by an orthopedic specialist, it’s a great benefit to visit an orthopedic care center rather than a more versatile urgent care center. You will get clear answers and a defined treatment plan that’s specialized to you and your injury. 

You’ll notice at Lancaster Orthopedic Group, our physicians are specialized in specific areas rather than one or two doctors that cover a range of specialties. This means you can work with someone who has more in-depth knowledge of your injury and the best way to get you back to feeling yourself.


Once the initial shock of a traumatic event settles, it’s always in the back of your mind how much is this visit going to cost you. As stated earlier, your medical bill from an emergency room and even an urgent care center will vary depending on your injury and your health insurance. 

But, how much does an orthopedic visit cost? At Lancaster Orthopedic Group, we work with a variety of insurance plans that can assist you with your urgent care, or office visit. You can find a list of insurance plans we work with here

Depending on where your injury occurred, you may also be eligible for worker’s compensation. This is something you should discuss with your employer and relay back to our office so we can finalize your payment plan. 

Additionally, our office provides the Good Faith Estimate for patients when necessary. This means that if you don’t have insurance, we are required to give you an estimate of your medical bill so you can better prepare financially.

Learn more about our orthopedic urgent care center and how our team can help you feel your best again.

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