Here When You Need Us Most: Urgent Care for Sports Injuries

It’s Saturday morning and your son hurt his knee during a wrestling tournament, or maybe you injured your shoulder lifting weights at the gym. There’s no need to wait for care. You can access urgent care for sports injuries even at night and on weekends.

While it would be ideal if injuries only happened on weekdays during regular doctor’s office hours, that’s not usually the case. Most sports practices and games—and trips to the gym or basketball court for working adults—take place at night or on weekends. So whenever an injury happens, you’ll need a quick solution.

That’s where an urgent care provider, like River’s Edge Hospital’s Urgent Care Department, can help. We’re here to offer convenient access to the medical care you or your child needs, when you need it. You can stop by for a diagnosis and treatment plan seven days a week.

What to Do When Injury Strikes

Exercise is good for us, but sports injuries are incredibly common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that an average of 8.6 million sports- and recreation-related injuries occur each year. That’s a lot of sprains, strains and breaks.

If you or your child gets hurt during an athletic activity, your first inclination might be to panic a bit. Stay calm and follow a few simple steps.

The first step is to stop an activity as soon as the activity starts to hurt. Continuing to play in a game or stubbornly trying to finish out a set of exercises can worsen the injury.

How you’ll care for the injury will depend on exactly what the injury is. Many different types of injuries are common in sports, including:

  • Achilles tendon injuries
  • Dislocations
  • Fractures
  • Knee ligament tears
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Shin pain
  • Sprains
  • Strains

In many cases, you can start with some basic, at-home care to see if those steps help with alleviating pain and other symptoms. The RICE method is often recommended for reducing swelling—it involves rest, ice, compression and elevation.

You may also find some relief with over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen.

While these steps are effective for treating many minor injuries, urgent care for sports injuries can offer a solution when at-home care doesn’t help.

When to Turn to Urgent Care for Sports Injuries

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers three general guidelines for when medical treatment is needed for a sports injury. You should seek urgent care for sports injuries that:

  • Cause symptoms that do not go away or worsen after rest or home treatment
  • Affect training or performance and have not been diagnosed or treated
  • Could be a risk to others in any way

If you determine that urgent care is needed, you can find that care at River’s Edge Hospital’s Urgent Care Department. We offer convenient access to care, with availability Monday through Friday from noon until 7:30 p.m. and on weekends from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

When you arrive, we’ll ask you some questions about your general health (or your child’s health). From there, we’ll do a physical examination.

If needed, we’ll order lab tests or imaging scans to determine the extent of the injury. Once we have a complete picture of the injury, we’ll offer a diagnosis and treatment plan to get you or your child back to good health as quickly as possible.

Here for Sports Physicals, Too

While we’re here when you need us for a sports injury, we’re also here for athletes when they aren’t injured. Our urgent care clinic offers walk-in sports physicals every day of the week.

Sports teams, including school sports teams, typically require a sports physical before allowing any child to participate. In Minnesota, sports physicals are required every three years for all kids playing school sports, but your school or team may require them on an annual basis.

A sports physical plays an important role in keeping young athletes safe, helping to determine if they’re healthy enough to participate in sports activities.

During a sports physical, a medical provider assesses your child’s health and well-being. They ask questions about your child’s personal medical history, as well as your family medical history.

You’ll be asked about any medical conditions your child has or has had, including allergies, injuries or chronic diseases like asthma or diabetes. You will also need to provide details about medications your child takes, so bring a list of current medications and any supplements or vitamins your child takes on a regular basis.

Once you’ve talked through details about your child’s health, the provider will conduct a physical exam. This exam will include basic measures of your child’s vital signs, including pulse and blood pressure.

A sports physical will include a height and weight measurement, a vision test, and tests to gauge joint function, strength, flexibility and posture. The provider will then check your child’s heart, lungs, abdomen, ears, nose and throat.

If anything unusual is spotted during the exam, additional testing, such as lab work or imaging scans, may be recommended. These tests are an added measure to help ensure your child is healthy enough to participate in sports.

If everything appears good, the provider will fill out the required documentation confirming that a sports physical was performed.

Need care for an injury or illness but aren’t sure where to turn? Check out our quick guide to accessing the right kind of care!

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