Head to Total – Mitch Misiak, Physician Assistant with Synergy Health Partners Orthopedic Urgent Care Speaks About the Importance of Orthopedic Urgent Care
August 3rd, 2022
In a recent Head to Total Podcast, we spoke with Mitch Misiak, Orthopedic Physician’s Assistant from Synergy Health Partners Orthopedic Urgent Care, about the real meaning of orthopedics. Here, Misiak discusses tips and tricks for urgent orthopedic care.
Orthopedic Urgent Care in the Spotlight
“I work for Synergy Health Partners Orthopedic Urgent Care, and currently, we’re in the process of launching another orthopedic urgent care center in Shelby Township, Michigan. Essentially, orthopedics refers to the bones and joints, which make up the musculoskeletal system. So, at our orthopedic urgent care center, if you fall and twist your ankle and you’re not sure if it is broken or sprained, an orthopedic provider will be able to give you the correct diagnosis and treat it accordingly.
“Pulled muscles are common, especially for weekend warrior athletes. Football and hockey are especially tough on the body. Hamstrings and the lower back are probably the most common types of muscle strains you get. Around the joints; whether it’s the elbow, the knee, or the shoulder, you’re at a higher risk for some tendon or cartilage damage, and that’s not your simple ‘throw some ice on it and wait some time and it’ll get better’ situation.
“These injuries often require further expertise and diagnostic testing, along with a more thorough exam from an orthopedic provider. The closer to the joint the injury is, the more serious it could be. And that’s something that an orthopedist is trained to look for.”
“Many people ask about treatment for minor injuries, the ones that don’t require surgery. People often ask, ‘Do I use heat or ice?’ And the general answer is “whatever feels better.” But to be more specific, if you have an injury, as soon as it happens, it’s almost always better to put ice on it because that will help reduce the swelling and inflammation.
“But generally, as you get further on, you’re going to get stiff and tight, and heat will help increase blood flow and loosen up the tissues and the muscle. The general rule of thumb is ice first, heat later. And I’ll never tell someone not to put a steak on a black eye, but just make sure you clean it so you can enjoy it afterward.”
The Physician’s Assistant Role
“In orthopedics specifically, as Physician’s Assistants, we get to work alongside the surgeons in the clinic, in the hospital setting, and the operating room. So, we help diagnose, treat, read x-rays, prescribe medications, and make surgical decisions with our surgeons daily.
“When you’re in a specialty practice like ours where it’s just orthopedics, it becomes repetitive and allows you to be confident in the decisions you’re making and ultimately help your patients out because you’re an expert in your field.
“Orthopedic urgent care differs from your general urgent care because we’re strictly focused on orthopedic or musculoskeletal injuries. Basically, any injury to a body part, whether from the finger to the toe or the back to any joint or limb. That’s what we treat, what we’re good at, and what we know compared to a general urgent care where they treat other ailments much more commonly and orthopedic injuries far less commonly.”
Why Orthopedic Urgent Care Matters
“When all you do is treat sports injuries and fractures all day long, repetition is what builds your strength and confidence. The challenges come when you’re seeing a young patient or perhaps an elderly patient, and maybe they can’t communicate what their injury is or where the pain is coming from.
“Those are things that you learn to take cues from a physical exam or body language. So, the diagnosis and the injury aren’t necessarily the most challenging part. It’s a matter of being able to communicate with your patients to know what’s bothering them.
“At our facility, we promise patients that they will be seen by an orthopedic specialist within 20 minutes of arrival. We’ve done everything we can to streamline our check-in process and our ability to obtain an essential and focused history so that we can get to treating you right away. You’re not going to be in a big urgent care or ER waiting room with 50 people and put on a gurney down the hall or anything like that.
“I would say upwards of 80% of our patients get an x-ray because they usually have acute injuries. And if we’re worried about any bony injury of any type, it’s just wise, and the patient should get an x-ray. The most important thing for us and our patients is getting the correct diagnosis.
“Physical therapy is a large part of orthopedics, so we try to incorporate our staff and our ability to get patients into therapy as quickly as possible. Specifically, our orthopedic urgent care facility in Shelby Township, Michigan has therapy and a state-of-the-art physical therapy facility on-site.”
“You don’t go into this field unless you want to help people. And I’m happy to help them. I’m thrilled that we can formally help those who need it at our center and have the capacity to treat them the right way. The reason we go into this field is ultimately to spend time with patients and make people better. I’m always happy to do that whenever possible.”
To listen to Dr. Misiak’s full podcast, click here.