Get the Right Care for Fractures: Urgent Care or ER?

When it comes to fractures, two things are certain: They don’t feel good, and they always require immediate medical attention. 

While the pain from a suspected fracture may prompt you to head to the nearest emergency room, you may be able to get quicker and less costly care at an urgent care center if you have a simple fracture. Like the majority of urgent care centers across the U.S., Immediate Clinic provides treatment for most minor fractures. We’re open from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week. 

What is a fracture?

A fracture occurs when there is a break in the cartilage or bone as the result of force, trauma or a condition that causes brittle bones, such as osteoporosis. Most fractures fall into one of two categories. A compound or open fracture penetrates the skin and exposes underlying bone and tissue. A simple fracture does not break through the skin and can be difficult to diagnose without an X-ray. 

Within these two primary categories are several specific types of fractures. For example, a stress fracture is usually the result of repetitive motion that causes a crack in the bone. A greenstick fracture commonly occurs in children when the bone bends and breaks on one side.

Urgent care or ER?

If you think you may have a minor fracture, you can likely be treated at an Immediate Clinic. During your visit, your provider will conduct a thorough exam and may order imaging to determine if there’s a break. 

All our locations have digital X-ray services on site. If you do have a minor fracture, your care plan and treatment may include a splint to immobilize the injured area, pain medication to ease discomfort, or a referral for further evaluation.  

More severe compound fractures pose an increased risk of infection and should be treated in an emergency room. Some simple fractures may also require emergency treatment. Go to the nearest ER you experience any of the following:

  • Severe bruising or swelling
  • Misalignment or deformity
  • Heavy bleeding

When in doubt

Whether you need treatment for a minor fracture or require corrective surgery for something more serious, visiting the appropriate medical facility will ensure you receive the right care as quickly as possible. 

If you’re not sure where to go, call your nearby Immediate Clinic or emergency center. You’ll be able to discuss your symptoms with a skilled professional who will point you in the right direction for treatment.

When you do visit one of our clinics, rest assured that we’re taking extra precautions during COVID-19 season to ensure your safety.

  • Schedule an appointment online, if you can.
  • All staff, patients and visitors are required to wear a mask.
  • If possible, please limit accompanying visitors to one. 
  • Call us when you arrive. One of our friendly clinic concierges will take care of most of your check-in process by phone, while you’re still in your car. You’ll be guided to an exam suite when it’s ready.

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