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Signs you should go to the emergency room after a sports or exercise injury
Orthopedic injuries, like fractures or dislocations, are common in sports and exercise. Knowing if an injury is serious can be challenging. Here are some signs that an orthopedic injury might need evaluation in a hospital emergency department.
The bone is crooked or out of place
Visible deformity of a body part suggests a serious injury, like a fracture or dislocation. Usually angulation of a long bone is obvious. Comparing it to the uninjured side can help demonstrate a subtler deformity. Evaluation of the injury and possible reduction of the injury to put it in proper position might be needed.
The injured area is very swollen.
A fracture often causes swelling in the soft tissues that surround the bone as blood leaks into the area. Mild swelling might not be serious, but a large amount of swelling might suggest a fracture or more serious joint injury.
You can’t bear weight.
A lower extremity injury can be very painful. The pain can make it difficult to put weight on that side. A leg injury that is unstable, like a fracture or dislocation, can make it nearly impossible to bear weight as well.
The bone is poking through the skin.
If the bone can be seen through an incision or laceration in the skin, an open fracture is present. An open fracture presents a risk of infection if not treated urgently. An orthopedic surgeon treats the fracture surgically to remove foreign material and devitalized tissue and thoroughly irrigates the wound.
You have bleeding that won’t stop.
Often a pinhole wound over an injury is present. If blood continues to drain from that small wound, it suggests a fracture where the end of the bone poked through the skin initially. Even though the bone doesn’t continue to stick out, it could still represent an open fracture. For reasons listed above, the presence of this sign warrants evaluation.
Your pain is unbearable.
Pain is one of the main reasons an injured person goes to an ER after an orthopedic injury. Significant pain that is not getting better with anti-inflammatory medications, ice, or other remedies might signify a serious injury, like a fracture.
Elite Injury Management
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