Knowing what to expect from an office visit at your orthopaedic clinic can help you be prepared and maximize your time.
Although your experience seeing a fellowship trained orthopaedic specialist may vary depending on your specific injury or chronic condition, there are many consistencies. An orthopaedic clinic visit should generally consist of four elements: 1) Review of your medical history 2) Thorough physical examination 3) Diagnostic imaging 4) Discussion of your treatment plan.
Review of your medical history
It is crucial for your orthopaedist to have a full understanding of your injury or condition. The more descriptive you are able to be about your pain or discomfort, generally the faster an accurate diagnosis can be reached. Details including how the injury occurred, or the first time you noticed pain, what causes discomfort, the severity of your pain, and so on are all helpful.
It is also important for your orthopaedic specialist to understand any additional factors such as diabetes, blood pressure concerns, arthritis, allergies (particularly related to medications, latex, or metals) and so on. Please let your orthopaedist know about any past injuries or surgeries you have had, since those may have some impact on your current condition or the recommended treatment plan.
Thorough physical examination
During your orthopaedic clinic visit, your specialist will use a series of physical movements to understand how your injury effects your use of the joint. They may also look for bruising, swelling, or other factors. Common movements such as walking, standing, bending over, reaching overhead, and so on may be helpful in reaching an accurate diagnosis.
When undergoing a physical exam, please be transparent with your orthopaedic doctor. If a certain movement is uncomfortable or causes feelings of numbness or tingling, letting them know is important. The more information your specialist has, the faster and more accurate the diagnosis will be.
This generally means an x-ray, but may include an MRI or even ultrasound, depending on the severity of the injury or condition. X-rays are relatively inexpensive and reveal a wide range of factors including fractures, cysts or bone spurs, misalignment, and so on. If soft tissue damage is suspected, such as a ligament or tendon injury, an MRI may be recommended.
In the event that you have recently had x-rays or other imaging taken, the surgeon may review them to look for any changes or deterioration to your joint. At an orthopaedic specialty practice like Beacon Orthopaedics, all x-rays are read by radiologists who are experts in diagnosing bone and joint conditions. This helps ensure that nothing is overlooked or mid-read. Beacon has MRI and X-Ray services in house to make the process convenient for our patients.
Discussion of your treatment plan
The first three steps of your orthopaedic clinic visit culminate in the final step. The review of your medical history, physical exam, and diagnostic imaging will help inform your orthopaedic specialist what the problem is. Once they have this understanding, they will work with you to discover your physical goals and talk about treatment options.
During this phase, setting and managing expectations is crucial. If additional tests are required before your board certified orthopaedic specialist is comfortable making a treatment recommendation, they will explain some options for temporary care and how the tests will help determine what is best for long term treatment.
If the injury or condition is diagnosed, your specialist will be able to make recommendations for the best ways to help you achieve your goals. This is also a good time to ask any questions you may or take notes about the pros and cons of treatment paths.
Schedule your visit today
Now that you know what to expect from your clinic visit, it’s time to stop letting pain slow you down. Schedule your appointment with one of the board certified, sub-specialty trained orthopaedic doctors at Beacon Orthopaedics today so you can take the first step toward recovery.
You can schedule by phone 24/7 at 513.354.3700 or online at your convenience at BeaconOrtho.com.