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Why Urgent Care is a Must for These Common Injuries on Portland’s Courts

Whether you’re practicing your dunk or cheering your kid’s team at the YMCA, there’s one thing that probably isn’t on your mind: a lifetime of hand problems resulting from an untreated basketball mishap. We at Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care know that basketball makes Portlanders fit and happy, and we’re big fans too. But there are certain injuries common on the court that require immediate attention from a medical professional. It’s important to know how to spot these, and know when it’s time to walk off the court and into an urgent care location for treatment.


Finger Jam

The ball grazes the top of your finger, bending the tip awkwardly. This is called a “finger jam,” and it can fracture bone and tear tendons to the point of total rupture. If your tendon just got an unexpected stretch, your finger might be swollen and stiff for a few minutes post-jamming. But when the tendon is torn or totally ruptured, you might see a crooked finger and feel some serious pain. If your pain isn’t improving, you need a checkup by a qualified medical professional and maybe even an x-ray. On the way to urgent care, remember to RICE that injury: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.


If we determine that you have tendon damage and we rule out a fracture, we’ll tape your finger into place so it heals properly, and teach you how to refresh the tape at home. Be sure you don’t wait to see a healthcare professional for more than 24 to 48 hours after injury. Tendon damage and fractures, even miniscule ones, can permanently ruin your game if you put off treating them.


Dislocated Wrist

You were trying to dunk and fell on your hand - now you’ve got a dislocated wrist. One of several tiny bones that make up your wrist has gotten unaligned, and a ligament that connects it to other bones is probably torn. You’ll find that your wrist hurts - a lot - and moving it is difficult, and you feel something clicking or popping when you do. It might even look visibly out of place. As scary as a dislocated wrist looks, do not try to pop it back into place on your own. No one should do this but a medical professional, not even your teammate who’s also an Eagle Scout. Get off the court; you need urgent care to realign the bones of your wrist (and on the way, remember again: RICE).


While realignment may sound like medieval torture, we promise it isn’t. Urgent care professionals know how to deftly manipulate the bones, and know how much anaesthetic to provide so your discomfort is minimal. In some cases, the small bones of the wrist can’t be realigned without surgery. Because surgery carries a host of risks, including loss of range of motion, your urgent care professional will only advise it as a last resort - but if it’s necessary, we can refer you to a specialist within our Legacy Hospital partner network, where all your records will already be in the system for a seamless healthcare experience.


After your wrist bones are back in their rightful places, your wrist will be immobilized for a few weeks to heal properly. We will advise you on the specific home pain medications, heat and ice treatments, strengthening exercises, and potential physical therapy you need to restore your hand to its former dunking, shooting, and dribbling glory. It might take a few weeks to months, but with the right care, your hand can fully or mostly recover.


Hand Fractures

You weren’t expecting the ball to be passed your way. When it made impact with your unprepared hand, it fractured the small bones of your fingers or palms. There are 27 bones in the hand (including 8 in the wrist), so your experience of a fracture can vary widely based on which bone breaks and how badly. Some fractures are so painful, you won’t have any doubt something’s gone awry. Others don’t hurt as much, so you have to watch for telltale swelling, bruising, and stiffness around the injury. The degree of pain doesn’t perfectly relate to the severity of your injury— tiny cracks can feel loathsome (think of how much a paper cut can hurt!), and fractures that make x-ray technicians recoil in horror could feel no worse than stubbing your toe.


Today, urgent care centers like Legacy-GoHealth Urgent Care are the perfect choice after an accident on the court: we offer the same qualified staff and medical technology, including x-ray machines and pain relieving services, that you can expect at an emergency room visit. Except at an emergency room, you’ll wait hours in line for an x-ray behind everyone else in the city who’s recently had an accident. It’s just faster and easier to choose urgent care. So make the smart call— you owe it to your hands. Even your pinky finger deserves fast, quality care for lifelong health. 


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