Should You Go to an Urgent Care for Ankle Strains
Ankle sprains are often caused by rolling your ankle or falling. The ligaments in your ankle stretch out and become torn, which is quite painful. You may need to go to urgent care if you have a high level of pain and swelling as well as difficulty walking. They will diagnose your injury with an X-ray and may use other imaging tools, like an MRI or CT scan, to look at soft tissue damage. They also might prescribe pain relievers that help reduce inflammation, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Your doctor might tell you to stay off your foot for several days so it has time to heal fully; crutches can help support weight when walking is difficult.
Many people visit urgent care centers for non-urgent conditions like ankle strains. However, ankle strains generally aren’t considered emergencies. But that doesn’t mean they don’t warrant treatment. If your ankle is severely sprained, it may need a cast or crutches to give it time to heal properly. In general, these injuries should be treated in an urgent care setting within 24 hours of injury. Since initial evaluation and treatment may take an hour or more at urgent care facilities, make sure you don’t leave until all of your questions have been answered and any necessary X-rays have been taken.
One of the first things people think of when they’re injured is going to urgent care. Unfortunately, it’s often not a good idea. Most urgent cares aren’t set up to handle ankle sprains or even other common injuries. They aren’t equipped with X-ray machines or MRI equipment and often must send patients elsewhere for those procedures. Also, beware that your primary care doctor may refer you to an urgent care facility that is owned by their own practice; just like any other physician-owned enterprise, these facilities exist only to make money—not give good service. If your doctor tells you to go there, it may be because they get paid more if they refer your case elsewhere. ( Source ) Go see a real doctor instead!
Probably not. The term urgent care is used to describe many different types of clinics, but in general, these are walk-in clinics that provide urgent medical treatment for non-life threatening injuries. If you have something more serious than a sprained ankle (like a heart attack), it’s best to call 911 instead of driving yourself to an urgent care clinic. If your situation isn’t as dire but still needs immediate attention (your child fell off his bike and scraped his knee, for example), go ahead and take your kid to an urgent care facility. (It may be better to call a nurse hotline first.)