The 7 Most Common Sports Injuries

Playing sports is fun and it provides many benefits: discipline, sportsmanship, camaraderie, good health, endorphins, and seeing firsthand how the effort you put in yields results on the field, court, swimming pool, or race course.

That being said, being an athlete comes with the reality of a higher than average risk of injury. This doesn’t mean that you should shy away from sports, it’s simply an announcement to wear appropriate gear and consult a coach on form and how to safely increase your level of activity. This will help you minimize the likelihood of being injured. Note that we wrote minimize; not eliminate. Below is a list of the most common sports injuries and their treatment options. Learn how to recognize symptoms and the importance of taking a break when your body needs it.

The 7 Most Common Sports Injuries & Treatments

1. Concussion

Concussions are traumatic brain injuries that occur when a fall or hard hit causes the brain to move forward and back in a rapid motion. Sometimes, the hit is so severe, the person loses consciousness. However, there are many instances when a person has suffered a concussion and is not aware of it. This is why it’s essential to recognize symptoms: headache, blurred vision, dizziness, sensitivity to light or noise, ringing in the ears, nausea, and confusion, among others.

When a person is diagnosed with a concussion, they have to be monitored for 24 to 48 hours for any behavioral changes, slurred speech, or worsening of symptoms. The patient will also have to take both physical and mental breaks and completely rest for a specific timeframe as ordered by the rendering physician.

2. Shoulder Dislocation

The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint. When playing contact sports, a hard blow to the shoulder may cause the ball portion of the joint to come out of its socket. When this occurs, the patient will feel intense pain, there will be a bump on the back of the shoulder, and the joint will swell.

To treat it, a doctor will provide sedatives, then maneuver the ball back into its socket. The shoulder will be immobilized with a sling. The medical provider may prescribe muscle relaxers while the shoulder recovers from the trauma. Before returning to the sport of choice, the patient will likely have physical therapy and stretching exercises recommended by the doctor.

3. ACL or MCL Tear

ACL stands for Anterior Cruciate Ligament, while MCL stands for Medial Collateral Ligament. They both hold the patella (knee cap) in place. The ACL runs diagonally in front of the knee, while the MCL is located on the inner (medial) side of the knee. Injuring either one is extremely painful and will impair mobility. They both result in swelling, tenderness, an inability to fully extend the leg, and a feeling that the knee will “give out”.

Conservative treatment may include wearing a compression sleeve, icing the injury for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, and keeping the knee elevated. However, an ACL tear may require surgery (especially when the patient is an athlete who wants to return to the playing field), while an MCL tear may heal on its own.

4. Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is the popular term for lateral epicondylitis. Being diagnosed with this condition means that the tendons around the elbows have experienced tears and are inflamed. As a result, the athlete experiences pain on the outside part of the elbow, as well as stiffness, tenderness to the touch, and a burning sensation.

Treatment includes icing the elbow for 15 to 20 minutes at a time and wearing an arm brace. This serves two purposes: keeping the elbow elevated and immobilizing it, which are both necessary to fully heal. The patient may apply cortisone cream to reduce pain, and undergo physical therapy when the medical provider deems it appropriate.

5. Achilles Tendon Tear

The Achilles tendon connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.  When injured, the patient will experience pain, difficulty walking, swelling, and an inability to stand on the toes. This type of injury occurs when there’s a sudden increase in activity, pushing the body too fast without adequate and gradual training, quickly starting and stopping, and not warming up properly before exercise.

If the tear is minor, it’ll heal on its own by simply taking a break from the activity. Over-the-counter ibuprofen should alleviate pain. If the tear is significant, your physician may recommend physical therapy. Surgery is a possibility, yet unlikely and only used as a last resort when conservative treatment doesn’t work.

6. Sprained or Fractured Toe

If your toe is sprained, the injury is to the ligaments around the toe bones. If it’s fractured, a bone is broken. Both types of injury result in pain in the toe. However, a sprain will still allow you to move your toe, while a fracture significantly reduces the range of motion. They both cause throbbing, tenderness, and swelling. If the toe is broken, there will be a burning sensation.

Treating both requires taking time to rest from athletic events. Sprained toes can be treated with home remedies, such as icing the injury for 15 to 20 minutes at a time and taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory to alleviate pain. Meanwhile, a broken toe will require medical attention to prevent complications such as deformity or bone spurs. You may have to wear a cast and use crutches for several weeks.

7. Stress Fractures

Sometimes, a sports injury is not due to a hard fall or hit, but a result of repetitive movement over an extended period of time. Stress fractures are hairline cracks that occur in the bones of the foot. When a person is suffering from this type of injury, they’ll feel pain while doing physical activity; the pain subsides during rest periods. The affected area also feels tender and warm to the touch. Stress fractures can be prevented by wearing adequate shoes for the sport of choice, doing dynamic drills before exercising, and increasing the intensity of workouts in a very gradual manner, to allow the body to get used to the additional stress.

The only way to heal a stress fracture is to take an extended break from the sport. Yes, it’ll set back your endurance and fitness level, but so will competing with an injury.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one have suffered a sports injury, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

Proper Hydration for Athletes

If you’re an athlete, you know that your hydration needs differ greatly from those of the average person. Routinely participating in vigorous or prolonged physical activity has many benefits (such as improved mood, more energy, better sleep, and greater overall health). However, hydration is just as important as the discipline necessary to excel in your sport of choice.

Whether you’re working on perfecting that breaststroke, hitting that goal pace, or increasing your speed while riding a bike, staying hydrated is an essential element for success.

The Importance of Hydration

When you exercise, your body temperature increases. If not returned to its optimal level, this will interfere with performance. Water helps your body maintain its proper temperature, manage stress and regulate blood pressure. Finally, consuming the proper amount of fluids aids the body in transporting stored sources of energy, such as carbohydrates and other nutrients. In a nutshell, to perform your best, you need adequate hydration.

What Are Electrolytes?

Electrolytes are minerals that aid in muscle function and keeping your body hydrated. They include sodium, magnesium, phosphate, bicarbonate, and potassium, among others. They are essential to regulate the body’s pH levels and metabolism. When you sweat, you lose water and electrolytes. Therefore, if you’re exercising for an extended period of time, plan ahead to replenish both elements. If you exercise in extreme heat, you need to increase water and electrolyte consumption.

When the body has an electrolyte imbalance, a patient will experience dehydration, vomiting, and/or diarrhea. If the imbalance is severe, symptoms can include irregular heartbeat, muscle cramping, headache, numbness or tingling of the limbs and/or seizures.

When to Start Hydrating

Proper hydration starts well before you begin exercising. This is because when you start to sweat, your body is losing electrolytes.

How Much to Drink

How much water to drink depends on many factors, such as a person’s height, weight, gender, length of workout, perspiration rate, outside temperature, and environment humidity.

The American Council of Exercise (ACE) recommends the following guidelines:

  • 17 to 20 ounces of water two hours before exercise
  • 7 to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise
  • 14 to 24 ounces for every pound of body weight lost after exercise

What About Sports Drinks?

If you’re exercising for an hour or less, water will suffice. There’s no need to add additional sugars and calories. However, if your training program requires that you hit the pool, court, field, or the pavement for longer than an hour, sports drinks provide electrolytes that will help reduce the stress on your body and help you to perform at your best. That said, make sure to pay attention to the serving size. A single bottle can contain several servings.

Signs of Dehydration

Symptoms of dehydration include the following:

Complications of Dehydration

Complications of dehydration include a rapid heartbeat, low blood pressure, seizures, loss of consciousness, and heat stroke. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, seek medical attention immediately.

When to See a Doctor for Dehydration

Seek medical attention if you feel symptoms of dehydration. If you’re in the middle of a race, get off the course and call a friend or family member from a medical tent. It’s important to keep in mind that many of the symptoms of dehydration are similar to hyponatremia (overhydration). This occurs when drinking too much water dilutes the amount of sodium in the body. In the most extreme cases, the condition can be fatal.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you think you are experiencing dehydration, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

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Concussions (Traumatic Brain Injury)

While no injury is ever welcome, a brain injury takes worrying about trauma to a whole new level. After all, cognitive abilities originate in the brain, as well as memories, the capacity to comprehend simple concepts, and the dexterity needed to live independently.

The brain is not immune to injury, and it’s important to be armed with knowledge about concussions. While some people lose consciousness after experiencing a brain injury, others don’t even realize that their brain suffered trauma. Therefore, it’s crucial to recognize the symptoms. Doing so can help you obtain adequate treatment and prevent irreversible complications.

What Is a Concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). It occurs when the brain is jolted back and forth too quickly. This sudden movement can create chemical changes and damage to brain cells, blood vessels, and nerves. In some instances, a concussion may also cause the brain to bleed, which can be fatal.

Causes of Concussions

Concussions are caused by a hard blow to the head, as a result of a car crash for example, or violently shaking the head. It’s also possible to experience a traumatic brain injury from a hard blow to the upper body.

Risk Factors for Developing a Concussion

Any activity that could result in injury to the head poses a risk of concussion. Some of the most common risk factors include:

Concussion Signs and Symptoms

Depending on the severity of the injury, signs may be obvious, such as a cut or bruise to the head, followed by any of the symptoms listed below. For some people, symptoms don’t start appearing until several days after the injury.

While some people do not experience any symptoms, those who do could experience them for several days or even weeks. These signs include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Nausea
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in personality
  • Sluggishness

Concussion Signs and Symptoms in Children

When concussions occur in a child, look for the following symptoms:

  • Loss of balance
  • Irritability
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Change in eating patterns
  • Loss of interest in playing and toys

If none are apparent immediately, monitor your child for 24 hours after a head injury to watch for any behavioral changes.

When to See a Doctor for a Concussion

Anything that looks or feels like cause for alarm, usually is. Therefore, if you notice that a loved one who recently experienced a head injury is slurring their speech, vomiting, having seizures, or loses consciousness, seek medical care immediately.

Even if symptoms seem minor (such as a headache or nausea), see a doctor as soon as possible if symptoms do not subside or if they worsen.

If a child is injured, seek medical attention if the child is less than one year old.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Concussions

The doctor will ask detailed questions about the type of injury the patient experienced, as well as evaluate their vision, hearing, speech, coordination, reflexes, and balance.

The doctor will also assess the patient’s ability to concentrate and recall memories, facts, and information. In addition, they will likely order imaging tests, such as X-Rays, CT scan or MRI to confirm diagnosis. There’s a chance that the patient will have to be hospitalized overnight for observation.

Once a concussion has been diagnosed, the patient will require extensive rest to allow the brain time to recover from the injury. This includes both physical and mental respite. The doctor will monitor symptoms and determine when regular activities may be resumed.

Complications for Concussions

Complications from a traumatic brain injury may include chronic headaches, recurring dizziness, and seizures. If the injury was catastrophic, the patient may also experience a marked decline in cognitive abilities, personality changes, trouble communicating, memory loss, and early onset of dementia. All of these factors can also lead to depression.

Prevention of Concussions

While accidents happen and are sometimes unavoidable, there are things you can do to reduce the likelihood of a concussion.

  1. Exercise regularly. Exercise strengthens muscles, which is essential to maintain balance.
  2. Wear protective gear. Whether you’re riding a bicycle or playing contact sports such as hockey or football, wear adequate protective gear that’s (a) worn correctly, and (b) well-maintained.
  3. Wear your seatbelt. Seatbelts exist for reasons other than avoiding traffic tickets. While it is possible for the brain be jolted forward and backward quickly even while wearing a seatbelt, buckling up significantly reduces the risk of head injury.
  4. Keep your home and surrounding areas well lit. Even when you’re familiar with the layout, objects in the middle of the floor are accidents waiting to happen, especially when a room is too dark.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you or a loved one has suffered from a concussion, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

Mononucleosis (Mono): The Kissing Disease

How much do you know about Mono? For most people, unless they work in the medical field or have experienced the illness themselves, their understanding of the condition is limited to hallway gossip from their high school days.

Fortunately, the age of information has made it significantly easier for us to research facts. While this is in no way intended to serve as a stand-in for a proper medical diagnosis, below is an overview of Mononucleosis, how to recognize its symptoms, and how to properly treat it.

What is Mononucleosis?

Mono is short for Mononucleosis; also known as the “kissing disease”. The reason for the moniker is that the illness is transmitted through saliva. While kissing is indeed one way of contracting Mono, it’s also possible to acquire it from a person with Mono who sneezes or coughs around you, or if you share drinks, food, utensils, or lipstick with someone who has the virus.

Mono can also be contracted through bodily fluids and blood transfusions.

Causes of Mononucleosis

Mononucleosis is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus.

Mononucleosis Symptoms

Symptoms of Mononucleosis could initially be confused with the common cold or flu. These include:

How Long Does Mono Last?

Typically, a strain of the Mononucleosis virus remains in the system for two to four weeks. However, even when the condition is no longer contagious, the patient can be left with symptoms for much longer; sometimes up to six months.

When to See a Doctor

You should see a doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of Mono. This is because he or she will confirm whether what you’re experiencing is Mononucleosis or something more serious. For example, symptoms of strep throat are very similar to those of Mononucleosis, yet strep throat requires antibiotics, while Mono does not. In addition, Mono can result in complications (as described below) that require immediate medical attention.

Mononucleosis Diagnosis and Treatment

For the most part, medical providers are able to diagnose Mono based on the patient’s symptoms. The doctor may order blood tests to determine whether the virus has affected the spleen, liver or other body systems.

Once diagnosed, the doctor will likely recommend over-the-counter medications to alleviate symptoms and advise you to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest.

Mononucleosis Complications

The most common complications of Mononucleosis include:

  1. Enlarged spleen. The concern here is that the spleen could rupture. This is why it’s especially important to take a break from strenuous activity, such as exercise and sports while you’re recovering from Mono.
  2. Jaundice. Mono can cause the skin to turn yellow. This is a result of excess bilirubin, which is a yellowish substance that’s typically filtered from the blood through the liver. Mononucleosis can make it difficult for the liver to adequately filter bilirubin.
  3. Hepatitis. Mononucleosis can result in inflammation of the liver.

Mononucleosis Prevention

Since there is no vaccine to prevent Mononucleosis, it’s up to you to decrease your chance of contagion. Avoid sharing food, drinks, and personal items. Practice safe sex (especially when engaging in oral sex), and wash your hands often.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you believe you may have Mononucleosis, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

How To Tell If a Cut is Infected

Cuts are so common, they’re often regarded as insignificant. This tends to be the case with knee scrapes from falling off a bicycle, paper cuts, or small injuries from slicing up produce. And while some are harmless, it’s important to recognize signs that a cut has become infected.

Failing to treat infected wounds can result in complications, such as skin infections, high fever, cellulitis, or sepsis, which can be life-threatening.

What Causes a Cut to Become Infected?

Our immune system is designed to keep us healthy by fighting off illness. However, bacteria can enter the bloodstream through an open wound. If the immune system can’t keep up with the additional bacteria, the cut becomes infected.

Signs a Cut Is Infected

The short-term signs that a cut is infected include:

  • The skin around the cut is red and/or swollen
  • Pus oozes from the cut
  • The area feels warm to the touch
  • Fever of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Fatigue and lack of energy

In addition, when a cut is infected, it won’t get better as days go by. In fact, the area will generally become more painful.

Treating an Infected Cut

Step 1. Clean the area. If it’s only slightly red, wash the area with soap and water. You may also clean it with hydrogen peroxide.

Step 2. Pat it dry or let it air dry.

Step 3. Apply antibiotic ointment.

Step 4. Cover the cut with a bandaid or a non-stick gauze pad until it starts healing (once the cut looks pink).

When to See a Doctor

Go to the doctor if you see pus, or if the area around the cut becomes painful and/or doesn’t improve within a day or two. Other reasons to seek medical attention immediately include:

  • The cut is ragged on the edges
  • The cut won’t stop bleeding
  • The cut is large or deep
  • You think there may be a foreign object in the cut
  • The cut was caused by an animal or insect bite
  • The cut was caused by a rusty sharp object
  • There is debris inside the cut (such as with road burn)
  • If you’re an older adult (65+)

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you have an infected cut, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

Seizures

If you or someone you love has recently experienced a seizure for the first time, you are well aware of how overwhelming the episode can be. What’s going on? How can I make it stop? What’s causing this? Please make it stop!

The uncertainty can feel just as awful as the incident itself. The sense of consternation and helplessness can feel crushing. What, exactly, causes seizures? Is there any way to predict the onset? Is there a treatment? Can you put a full stop to them?

The best way to address any situation starts with being well-informed. While it’s imperative to seek medical advice when confronted with a health concern, below is a basic overview to serve as a starting point.

What are Seizures?

Seizures are a neurological disorder that causes a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain. This affects muscle movements as well as vision and consciousness.

Although they can happen to anyone, at any age, they are most common in young children. Some causes include:

  • High fever
  • Inflammation
  • Physical injury
  • Infectious disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Altered brain development in utero

For some patients, the cause is unknown.

Children sometimes experience a seizure during a high fever, chicken pox, or an ear infection. This is due to abnormal brain activity related to the illness the child is fighting. However, having a seizure does not mean the child has epilepsy. Once cured of the underlying illness, the seizures usually cease.

Types of Seizures

There are different types of seizures.

1. Focal Onset

This happens when abnormal brain activity occurs on one side of the brain. The patient will be aware of what’s going on around them when a part of the body starts to convulse, which may gradually move to other parts of the body.

There are two types of focal onset seizures: (a) Focal Aware Seizure: The patient will not lose consciousness, and the seizure only lasts for one minute or less. (b) Focal Impaired Awareness: Prior to the seizure, the patient may feel nauseous and during the seizure, they may lose consciousness. This type of seizure can last for several minutes. Afterward, the patient will be confused.

2. Generalized Onset

This type of seizure happens when abnormal brain activity occurs on both sides of the brain. These are the most common and the type that people typically picture when thinking of epilepsy. The entire body convulses while the patient is unconscious. The patient’s eyes roll up and they may bite their tongue, hard. Their skin tone may change color, and their breathing may become obstructed. To keep the patient from choking, roll them onto their side.

Seizure Symptoms

Since there are so many different types of seizures, symptoms vary. They may also be different from one age group to another. However, it’s good to be vigilant about the following signs:

Seizure Symptoms in Babies:

It may not be completely obvious when a baby has a seizure, since a lot of babies’ movements are involuntary. However, some signs of a seizure include:

  • Change in breathing pattern
  • Inability to focus attention
  • Stiff limbs
  • Unusual movement of eyelids
  • Limp and unresponsive

Seizure Symptoms in Young Children:

  • Staring into space
  • Loss of bladder control
  • Confusion
  • Falling for no apparent reason
  • Non-responsive to noise

Seizure Symptoms in Adults:

  • Nausea
  • Muscle contractions
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Tingling skin
  • Vision changes
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating

When to See a Doctor

You should see a doctor the first time you have a seizure. This is crucial to determine whether the incident was caused by a health condition, and if there’s a chance of reoccurrence.

Seizure Diagnosis and Treatment

Doctors are usually able to diagnose the type of seizure based on the patient’s recollection of symptoms prior to the event. However, since some seizures are a result of an underlying health condition, a medical provider will most likely order blood tests, imaging scans, an encephalogram, and/or a spinal tap.

Your doctor may prescribe medication to control seizures. However, some people only experience one seizure and never have one again. Therefore, the doctor may take a “wait and see” approach before prescribing anti-seizure meds.

The doctor may recommend lifestyle adjustments to lower the likelihood of another seizure, such as:

  1. Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation can trigger seizures.
  2. Exercise. Consult with your doctor about activities that should be off-limits.
  3. Stay hydrated. Severe dehydration can lead to a seizure.
  4. Wear a medical alert bracelet. Include the name and contact information of an emergency contact in case you lose consciousness.

Seizure Complications

Complications of seizures vary:

  • Memory loss
  • Injured tongue or cheeks due to biting during a seizure
  • Poromania
  • Injuries from hitting body parts during a seizure
  • Drowning if swimming or bathing when a seizure occurs
  • Sleep apnea
  • Psychological disorders
  • Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP).

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’re suffering from seizures, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

Annual Physical Exams

When was the last time you had a physical exam? Chances are if you’re reading this to find out more about them, it’s likely been a while. Whether you’re intimidated by doctors or you just avoid them because you’re feeling fine, it’s a good idea to know what an annual physical exam entails and schedule one.

Overview of Annual Physical Exams

There isn’t one specific formula that all medical providers follow when conducting an annual physical exam. Generally speaking, the doctor will ask about your medical history and listen to your concerns, if any, about ailments. They will then take your vital signs and conduct simple exams, as explained below.

Purpose of a Physical Exam

The purpose of a physical exam is to identify any health issues and update immunizations. They also offer an opportunity to establish a relationship with your primary care physician.

What to Expect at Your Annual Physical Exam

Examinations will vary depending on several factors: The patient’s age, physical condition, medical history, weight, and gender. However, anyone undergoing a physical exam can expect the following:

  1. Blood pressure check. This type of testing is essential, as it measures a patient’s risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, kidney disease, or a heart attack. Some risk factors for high blood pressure include being overweight or obese, having a sedentary lifestyle, drinking too much alcohol, consuming too much sodium, or not eating enough fruits and vegetables. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor can help you develop a healthier lifestyle to address the issue and prevent health complications.
  2. Weight check. Although this is not typically anyone’s favorite part of the exam, knowing how much you weigh can help your doctor calculate your body mass index (BMI). This is a tool used to determine whether a patient is at a healthy weight. To calculate it, the doctor will take your weight in kilograms and divide it by the square of your height. To keep it simple, most doctors use a chart or a BMI calculator.  If the BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, the patient is considered to be at a healthy weight. A BMI of 25 and 29.9 means the patient is overweight, and a patient with a BMI over 30 is considered obese, medically speaking.
  3. Heart exam. This consists of the doctor listening to your heartbeat through a stethoscope. This simple process can help the doctor determine whether or not there is an irregular heartbeat or heart murmur.
  4. Mouth and neck exam. Oral health can reveal a lot about a patient’s overall health. It’s very easy for bacteria to enter the bloodstream through the mouth. Your doctor will look at your tonsils, inside your ears, and nose, and check your neck for lumps or bumps which could indicate a thyroid issue.
  5. Cancer screenings. Since there are so many different types of cancer, it’s impossible to screen for each one. However, for women over 40, an annual exam will include a mammogram to screen for breast cancer. Men will be screened for prostate cancer. Both men and women may also have a rectal exam to screen for colorectal cancer.
  6. Observation of physical appearance. There is a lot of medical information a doctor can obtain by simply observing a patient’s weight, the way they walk, whether they become short of breath easily, whether they have trouble getting up from a sitting position, and whether the skin has a worrisome hue, rash, or moles. If the physician feels that something about the patient’s appearance is cause for concern, he or she will order additional tests.

Depending on the doctor’s observations, they may ask additional questions about lifestyle (e.g. how often you exercise, whether you smoke, floss your teeth, wear sunscreen), sexual history (if you mention symptoms that indicate a sexually transmitted disease) or about past surgeries, vaccines, and eating habits. Based on your answers, the doctor may recommend blood tests or additional cancer screenings.

How to Prepare for an Annual Physical Exam

Once you’ve scheduled a physical exam, sit down with a notebook and list the following:

  • Medical history
  • Medications
  • Allergies
  • Names of all your current doctors
  • Any symptoms you may be experiencing
  • Concerns about depression, anxiety, or mental health
  • Questions about specific health issues

In addition, wear comfortable, easy to remove clothing, since you’ll have to change into a hospital gown.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’re due for an annual physical exam, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

Ear Infections in Children: When to See a Doctor

Being the parent of a young child goes hand in hand with being constantly tired and constantly worried. And while certain ailments are common among children, such as ear infections, it’s still stressful trying to figure out whether you can cure it with home remedies or if it’s time to see a doctor.

Below is a general overview of ear infections in children and how to know when it’s time to see a doctor.

What Is an Ear Infection?

Ear infections occur when there’s a bacteria overgrowth or virus behind the eardrum. The infection causes inflammation inside the ear and a buildup of fluids. As a result, the patient feels a sharp pain. While they do tend to clear up on their own in adults, children with ear infections may need antibiotics to fully heal.

Ear Infection Signs & Symptoms

Depending on their age, the child may be able to tell you if she or he is having ear pain. Yet, if you’re the parent of a baby or an infant, pay attention to the following signs, as they could be an indication of an ear infection:

  • Tugging/pulling the ear
  • Crying frequently
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Fever
  • Fluid coming out of the ear
  • Loss of appetite

When to See a Doctor

If your child is younger than six months of age, see a doctor as soon as possible. If your child is older, you’ll know it’s time to seek medical attention if the symptoms last for more than a day, you see ear discharge, or the symptoms are accompanied by breathing problems.

Causes of Ear Infections

Ear infections in children tend to come on the heels of the common cold, allergies, a throat infection, acid reflux, or the flu. They occur most often in children between the ages of 2 and 4 because the space inside their ears is more narrow, while their adenoids are larger.

Risk Factors for Developing Ear Infections

Risk factors include age (as explained above), as well as the following:

  • Group child care: It’s no secret that daycare facilities tend to be full of germs. The more the body tries to fight off bacteria, the more likely the adenoids will swell, narrowing the ear canal.
  • Spring and fall. Seasonal allergies increase the probability of ear infections. This is because allergies cause inflammation in the nose and ear canal.
  • Pollution. Cigarette smoke, auto exhaust fumes, and poor indoor air quality increase the risk of ear infections in children. The polluted air affects the respiratory system, which, just as with other types of bacteria, cause the adenoids to swell.

Ear Infection Diagnosis and Treatment

If a doctor suspects that a child has an ear infection, he or she will use an otoscope to look into their ears. Once diagnosed, the doctor will take into account several factors before prescribing antibiotics. Some of these factors include:

  • The child’s age
  • How long the infection has lasted
  • The severity of the infection
  • How often the child has ear infections

Recovery Time for Ear Infections

Ear infections in children typically last between two to three days, unless there are complications.

Complications from Ear Infections

Left untreated, an ear infection can cause the eardrum to rupture. Signs that this has occurred include dizziness, nausea, and ringing in the ears.

More serious complications include:

  • Cysts filled with pus
  • Impaired hearing
  • Spread of infection

Ear Infection Prevention

While ear infections are sometimes unavoidable in young children, you can lower the risk by limiting time spent in large groups with other children, washing their hands regularly, and with seasonal flu shots.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you believe your child may have an ear infection, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

Pink Eye

Having healthy eyes is something many of us take for granted. Unless one is visually impaired, they wake up, open their eyes, and go on about their day without giving their sight a second thought.

Yet, as soon as there’s a visual disturbance or a change to the eye’s appearance, worry creeps in. Why do your eyes look pink? Why are they so itchy? And how can you get them back to their healthy state?

One common eye condition that causes irritation is conjunctivitis (more commonly known as “pink eye”).

What is Pink Eye?

Conjunctivitis refers to inflammation of the conjunctiva. This is the clear, thin layer that covers the front surface of the eyes and lines the inside of the eyelids.

When such inflammation occurs, the small blood vessels in the eyes expand, making the whites of the eyes look pink or light red.

What Causes Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis can be caused by several different things:

  • An allergic reaction
  • A foreign object in the eye
  • Wearing contact lenses that weren’t cleaned properly
  • A viral infection
  • Bacteria

If the pink eye is the result of a virus or bacteria, the condition is contagious at some stages.

Symptoms of Pink Eye

The symptoms of conjunctivitis are fairly obvious:

  • Red eye
  • Itchiness
  • Tearing
  • Crusting while sleeping

When to See a Doctor

While most cases of conjunctivitis clear up on their own, see a doctor if you’re also experiencing pain, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, if your symptoms don’t improve within a couple of days, or if you have a weakened immune system due to an underlying illness, such as lupus, cancer, HIV, or hepatitis.

Pink Eye Diagnosis and Treatment

In most cases of conjunctivitis, it is not necessary to visit a doctor for a diagnosis. If you do schedule a doctor appointment, they’ll be able to diagnose it by taking a look at your eyes. If the condition is severe, or if your doctor suspects an underlying condition, you’ll be asked additional questions about symptoms and health history.

In rare cases, the doctor will take a sample of the liquid in your eyes for further analysis.

If you wear contact lenses, take a break from them until the condition clears up. If it’s a recurring issue every time you wear lenses, consider switching to one-day disposable contacts.

If the condition was caused by bacteria, your doctor may prescribe eye drops. If it was caused by a virus, you’ll just have to wait it out until the illness runs its course.

Home Remedies for Pink Eye

If the condition was caused by a foreign object in the eye, flush the eye with cold water.

Other ways to reduce irritation include holding a cold compress against the eye or applying eyedrops/artificial tears if you’re experiencing eye dryness.

If the irritation was caused by allergies, remove the allergen from your home. Change air filters, close windows, and purchase dust mite covers for bedding.

Complications of Pink Eye

If you don’t take measures to alleviate the symptoms of conjunctivitis, it could result in inflammation of the cornea, also known as keratitis. As a result, your vision could be affected.

Risk Factors for Getting Pink Eye

Risk factors of conjunctivitis include being exposed to someone who has it. Therefore, if you are experiencing it, take a couple of days off from school or work to avoid spreading it to others.

If you’re prone to pink eye and you wear contact lenses, opt for disposable ones and disinfect contact lens cases regularly.

If you suffer from allergies, install HEPA air filters in your home.

Pink Eye Prevention

There are several things you can do to prevent contracting or spreading conjunctivitis:

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Change your pillowcases regularly
  • Do not share makeup or cosmetics
  • Throw away cosmetics and eye makeup if you’ve already been sick
  • Do not share towels
  • Avoid allergy triggers

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you think you have pink eye, we can provide the care you need at one of our Urgent Care facilities. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.

Types of Fractures

If you’ve ever fractured a bone, you fully understand how miserable the experience can be. In some cases, you even hear the bone when it cracks, which is both shocking and disconcerting. Then the shooting pain sets in and the inability to move the injured body part.

Other times, the injury progresses gradually, and you don’t even realize that there’s a problem until you feel the pain of the fracture.

Regardless of which experience you identify with, fractures can leave one feeling frustrated: about the pain, the inability to do simple tasks independently, and the interruption of job, sports, and hobbies.

But not all fractures are created equal. Sometimes they’re caused by trauma; while other times they’re caused by repetitive movements or an underlying disease that weakens the bones. Treatment and recovery time varies depending on the type of injury.

What are the Different Types of Fractures?

1. Stable Fracture

This is the type of fracture that occurs when an injury causes the bone to break clean, with its parts in alignment. This means that the bone maintains its original position.

Treatment for a Stable Fracture: Since this type of fracture doesn’t require realignment, the doctor will simply immobilize the bone with a cast. The patient can take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications to alleviate pain.

2. Transverse Fracture

A transverse fracture is one that occurs at a 90-degree angle, straight across the bone. It happens when the impact comes perpendicular to the site of injury.

Treatment for a Transverse Fracture: The medical provider will realign the bones through an open reduction internal fixation(ORIF). Once the bone fragments are aligned, a traditional cast or splint will be used to immobilize the bone.

3. Comminuted Fracture

A comminuted fracture leaves the bone in fragments. It is most common after severe trauma, such as a car accident, and is more likely to occur in the hands or feet.

Treatment for a Comminuted Fracture: Due to the bones being fragmented, this type of fracture requires surgery in order to prevent additional damage to surrounding organs, nerves, ligaments, arteries, and veins.

4. Oblique Fracture

An oblique fracture occurs when the bone breaks at an angle. It tends to occur most often on long bones, such as the femur or tibia. This type of injury causes a visible deformity beneath the skin.

Treatment for an Oblique Fracture: Treatment varies depending on the severity of the injury. If it’s a minor fracture, conservative treatment (such as immobilizing the bone with a cast) will suffice. However, there are instances when the bones need to be realigned and surgery is required.

5. Compound Fracture

This is one of the most severe injuries: A compound or open fracture is when the bone pierces the skin when it breaks. Surgery is usually called for due to its severity and the risk of infection.

Treatment for a Compound Fracture: This type of injury is an emergency. More likely than not, the patient will require surgery to clean the area, remove debris, and stabilize the fracture. The patient will need a tetanus shot and antibiotics.

6. Hairline Fracture

A hairline fracture is also known as a stress fracture and occurs mostly on the legs and feet. It is a result of repetitive movement and occurs when athletes suddenly increase the frequency or intensity of workouts such as running or jogging.

Symptoms include pain when participating in your sport of choice; pain that subsides when resting; swelling, tenderness, and bruising.

Treatment for a Hairline Fracture: The most important thing you can do to heal a stress fracture is rest. Take time off from exercising. Depending on the severity of the injury, your doctor will recommend a specific resting timeframe. Also, ice the injury site for up to 20 minutes at a time, several times a day, and keep the foot or leg elevated.

7. Avulsion Fracture

An avulsion fracture is a break at the site where bone attaches to a tendon or ligament. When this happens, the tendon or ligament pulls off a part of the bone it’s attached to.

Treatment for an Avulsion Fracture: Surgery is not necessary for most avulsion fractures; unless the detached bone fragment ends up at a significant distance from the bone. The medical provider will instruct you to rest and ice the injury and will recommend specific range of motion exercises.

8. Greenstick Fracture

In a Greenstick fracture, a portion of the bone breaks but not completely through. The injured bone may also bend near the broken portion. This type of injury is most common in children.

Treatment for an Avulsion Fracture: If the bone is bent, the doctor will manually straighten it. And the patient can wear a removable splint as opposed to a cast.

9. Spiral Fracture

This happens when a bone is wrenched by the forceful rotation or twisting of a limb. It results in a clean break where the bone completely breaks into two fragments.

Treatment for a Spiral Fracture: The healing process for a spiral fracture is more complicated than other types of fractures because the twisting motion results in jagged edges on the bone. Surgery is required in most cases to realign the bones and set them back in place with screws, pins or rods. Post surgery the patient will wear a cast and undergo physical therapy before returning to their regular activities.

10. Pathological

Pathological fractures occur when a patient has an illness that has weakened their bones, such as osteoporosisarthritisosteomyelitisosteosarcoma, or metabolic bone disorders.

Treatment for a Pathological Fracture: Treatment will depend on the underlying condition that caused the fracture. If the illness doesn’t affect the bone’s ability to heal, the patient will only need to wear a cast to immobilize the limb. If an illness has compromised the body’s ability to heal, surgery will be necessary.

24-Hour Emergency Room Services in Colorado Springs and Texas

If you’ve suffered a bone fracture, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.

Find the Complete Care location nearest you.