WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- While the snow, ice, and freezing temperatures are perfect for ice skating, skiing, sledding, and snowboarding, the season also marks the start of weather-related injuries. Bone fractures, ligament tears, and sprains all occur with frightening regularity during cold months. Should these misfortunes happen to you where should you head first?
To receive a proper diagnosis and treatment, injured parties can choose from the ER, an urgent care center, a primary care physician, or a specialist.
“For any injury of the hand, wrist, or elbow, the front line for treatment ideally is an orthopedic specialist. If you’re unable to see a specialist quickly, head to an urgent care center equipped to treat significant injuries,” said Dr. Paul Fragner, Director of Hand Surgery for the Westchester Orthopaedic Institute. He also is a specialist in hand, wrist, and elbow surgery at the new White Plains Hospital Medical and Wellness facility in Armonk, as well as White Plains Hospital Physician Associates-Orthopedic Specialists.
This winter, Dr. Fragner expects to see wrist fractures due to black ice, skier’s thumb injuries, and growth plate fractures as children fall playing winter sports. Where you go first to be treated is important, he says. “Some injuries, like skier’s thumb, are time sensitive. If you fall with a pole in your hand and tear the ligament, you only have two weeks to fix it surgically,” says Dr. Fragner.
He suggests that instead of the ER, you head to an urgent care center – ideally one staffed by doctors with wide-ranging expertise and resources. “For example, the Urgent Care Center in Armonk is staffed by White Plains Hospital ER doctors who have direct communication with the best specialists in the county,” he said.
At White Plains Hospital’s new Armonk urgent care center, a patient can walk-in without an appointment and be seen immediately. They can receive x-ray or other state-of-the-art imaging on site, and they can follow up on location with specialists and even do physical therapy. “You don’t have to leave the system to receive comprehensive care for your injury,” Dr. Fragner
Since injuries come up suddenly and most patients see specialists less frequently, some may hold off on visiting an ER or an urgent care center in favor of waiting to see a pediatrician or primary care physician. Dr. Fragner advises against this as it can delay treatment and will likely conclude in a referral to see an orthopedic specialist anyway.
It’s especially important that children see the appropriate practitioner for a bone injury. Dr. Fragner notes. “Children have growth plates, which are a part of the bone that is made up of cartilage. Growth plate fractures are one of the most common fractures for children, but they can be missed on an x-ray. They require treatment just like any other fracture.” If left untreated, some growth plate injuries can cause permanent damage and interfere with proper growth of the limb.