While emergency rooms are an essential part of health care and especially appreciated in emergency situations, they definitely have their drawbacks. The wait times in an ER can be long since most emergency departments see a high volume of patients and prioritize cases from most critical to minor. The goal of ER doctors is to manage life-threatening conditions, so they typically refer patients who are stabilized to a more specialized clinic to make room for more patients with emergencies.
If you are not in a life-threatening situation, seeing a doctor, such as a family physician or orthopedic doctor, who you will follow-up with typically ensures you will get more comprehensive and personalized care. So, it may be a better option for patients with musculoskeletal injuries to skip the ER and head straight to an orthopedic clinic to be seen by a specialist who will be invested in your long-term treatment and recovery.
You can be treated at ORTHOKnox by our on-site physical therapists, board-certified surgeon, and dedicated physician assistants. We provide diagnostic testing and X-rays on-site and work together to return our patients to their active lifestyles. Plus, you can skip the long ER wait time, possible exposure to infectious diseases, and crowds by coming directly to our clinic.
When should I go the ER?
If you can answer yes to any of the following questions, then you should head to the ER.
- Do you have a life-threatening injury? Protruding bones, spinal injuries, severe trauma, or similar conditions should be treated in the ER immediately as they can be life-threatening.
- Do you have a head injury? There can potentially be serious complications from a head injury, so you need to be evaluated in the ER.
- Are you bleeding? Minor bleeding is probably ok, but uncontrollable bleeding should be managed in the ER as soon as possible.
- Have you lost consciousness?
- Are you in extreme pain? While your orthopedic doctor may be able to manage severe pain, you should go to the ER if you feel your pain is extreme.
When in doubt, head to the ER.
When should I go to an orthopedic clinic instead of the ER?
If you answer yes to any of the above questions or are unsure about the severity of your injury, you should head to the ER. But, if you have a musculoskeletal injury and do not need immediate medical attention, consider heading to an orthopedic clinic. Our orthopedic clinic can treat injuries and conditions including the following:
- Ankle sprains
- Joint pain
- Shoulder pain
- Knee pain
- ACL tears
- Sports medicine conditions
- And many more
An ER doctor focuses primarily on life-threatening injuries and may just refer you to an orthopedic clinic if you have a non-life-threatening musculoskeletal injury. At ORTHOKnox, our team will invest in your treatment and continue to work with you until you are recovered.
What if I need to see a doctor today but don’t need to go to the ER?
Good news! We offer an urgent care service if your injury needs more immediate attention and you do not have time to make an appointment.
Orthopedic Urgent Care in Knoxville and Athens, TN
In Knoxville on Parkside Drive, we are open 7 AM to 5 PM weekdays. Drop by Monday through Friday between 7 AM and 5 PM for urgent orthopedic care. Urgent orthopedic care hours are subject to change.
In Athens across the street from the Starr Regional Medical Center, we are open on Thursdays.
To make an orthopedic appointment, you can call us at (865) 251-3030 or fill out our easy-to-use online appointment request form. We look forward to hearing from you!