If it hurts, see us 1st
Each year, going back to school can mean a lot of different things: students may be excited to see their friends, nervous about meeting a new teacher or getting back on the field or court for sports practice. No parent wants to anticipate an injury of any kind for their child, but when accidents happen at school or at practice, Springfield Clinic’s Ortho 1st Clinic, a part of the Orthopedic Group at Springfield Clinic, is here to make sure your child recovers quickly and safely from any injury throughout the year.
The Ortho 1st Clinic, or O1C, is a walk-in orthopedic clinic open six days a week with same-day appointments available. Marc DeJong, MD, an orthopedic specialist that’s been with the O1C for four years, says that this concept of ease and access is the most important feature of the O1C. “It’s what ERs want, it’s what urgent cares want, it’s what primary care doctors want, and it’s what patients and families want. So that’s what we’re trying to do, keep the O1C as easy and accessible as possible and only refer to a surgical specialist when necessary.”
Being a non-surgical team is what sets the O1C apart from the rest of the Orthopedic Group. Comprised of four full-time physicians and three full-time physician assistants, the O1C specializes in orthopedic care without a surgery focus. “The nice thing about orthopedics whether it’s adult orthopedics or school-age orthopedics,” Dr. DeJong says, “is that upwards of 70% of orthopedic issues don’t ever require surgery.” The goal of the doctors and physician assistants at the O1C is to consider surgery as a last resort, so your student can get back to their regular activities as quickly and safely as possible.
Dr. DeJong acknowledges that parents will always have to judge the necessity or severity of a medical visit, but recommends the O1C to middle school and high school students for the following cases:
- an athlete who can’t continue at their level of participation because of pain for more than a day or two
- an acute injury with pain, swelling, difficulty movement with the joint involved
- any lower extremity (below the hip) injury that’s causing a limp
“The O1C is typically a good substitute for when you don’t know whether or not you need to go see a surgeon,” he says. “We give you the option of having a specialist evaluation as your first step instead of your second or third step.”
Other resources available at the O1C include X-rays, on-site casting, splinting, braces, crutches and almost every kind of orthopedic equipment, meaning you likely won’t have to visit another medical office for necessary supplies. Specialists in all of this equipment work with patients to make sure it fits or operates correctly before you leave, and O1C physicians look at X-rays with you as soon as you walk back from the X-ray suite, giving you “real-time” results.
The Ortho 1st Clinic currently has offices in Springfield and Jacksonville, and is looking to further expand to new locations in the future. The ultimate goal, according to Dr. DeJong, is to stay on top of the growth, while maintaining the quality of service at the O1C and keeping the same sort of access to care with minimum wait times for patients. With this commitment to quality and accessible care, parents and students alike can rely on the Ortho 1st Clinic to be available when they need it most.