Broken bones and dislocated joints
The vast majority of fractures will be diagnosed based on a patient’s description and observed injury. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs help doctors better assess your injury if you have one. Treatment depends on what type of fracture it is and how severe it is; sometimes surgery will be necessary, especially for long bones like those in your leg. If you don’t require surgery, most broken bones can heal completely within four to six weeks. While you recover from your fracture, make sure to get plenty of rest and take care not to put any weight on that injured limb.
Minor fractures and dislocations can be treated in a doctor’s office, but more serious breaks often require urgent care. Broken bones that aren’t set properly often result in complications like joint damage, arthritis, loss of motion, nerve damage and even amputation. And if you dislocate a joint without being treated—like your shoulder—it could result in lasting problems with your range of motion. Chest pain is never normal and should always be checked out immediately. While most heart attacks are felt as squeezing-type pain (think: chest-pressing), not all chest pains feel like heartburn or indigestion.
While you can set a broken bone, only a doctor can put it back in place. Likewise, many dislocated joints need to be relocated by a medical professional. The same goes for torn ligaments—fixing them requires more advanced skills than your average do-it-yourselfer has at their disposal. Going to an urgent care center can help get you some of these medical services without unnecessarily getting sent to an emergency room, where overworked and underpaid doctors are waiting for people with true emergencies. Depending on how severe your injury is and how long it will take you to get treatment, you may be able to avoid going to a real hospital altogether.