Five Reasons to Not Delay Your Orthopedic Care

November 11, 2020

2020 will soon come to a close—and for many of us, it can’t come soon enough. The end of the year also means that your insurance deductibles have probably been met, making healthcare co-pay costs much less expensive. Now’s a great time to take care of achy joints, upper and lower extremity pain, or spine conditions before your insurance deductible resets in 2021.

Here are five more reasons why it’s good not to delay your orthopedic care now:

Guaranteed safety measures

COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our everyday lives, including receiving medical care. Some people who require surgery have delayed it because of the virus. We would like to reassure you that if you require orthopedic care, you should not let COVID-19 stop you from seeking treatment. 

“I feel extremely confident in the precautions that are being taken at our Chicago and suburban clinics and operating rooms,” says Dr. Brian Cole, surgeon and managing partner, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR). “Because we can implement all precautions in a controlled setting, the office and surgical settings are predictably safe environments.” 

To protect both patients and staff, all MOR city and suburban locations have implemented the following mandatory protocols:

  • Temperature screenings for anyone entering a facility
  • Appropriate masks for all patients and the additional face shield for staff
  • Restricted visitor policy
  • Increased, regular cleaning and sterilization
  • Physically distanced patient waiting areas and patient rooms
  • Reduced number of patients scheduled throughout the day

Waiting can make it worse

In some cases, putting off surgery can make a simple condition much worse with time – and more difficult to fix. Recovery time could be longer, therapy more extensive, and there is a possibility that getting back to full mobility will be more difficult depending on the condition.

In the case of an injury that involves a fracture, if you wait too long for treatment, the bones can heal in the wrong position. Even something like an ankle sprain if not treated promptly can lead to long-term pain and disability.

“Sometimes delaying orthopedic surgery can make an otherwise simple surgery a more complex procedure if it is delayed too long,” says Dr. Johnny Lin, MOR foot and ankle surgeon.

Some overuse conditions such as tendonitis can sometimes heal on their own, but for a condition like carpal tunnel syndrome, delaying care can weaken the hand permanently and cause a loss of neurological function. Similarly, Dr. Cole explains that “a rotator cuff tear left untreated can cause the tendon to retract, making a repair harder and possibly more at risk for re-injury.” 

Latest techniques make surgery and recovery faster

From outpatient joint replacement to minimally invasive spinal procedures, there probably has never been a safer time to undergo orthopedic surgery. The use of arthroscopy, endoscopy and other tissue-sparing techniques results in outpatient procedures with shorter operating room times, less trauma to patients and a safer, faster healing process.

Many surgeries that previously required an overnight hospital stay are now often performed on an outpatient basis, meaning patients can go home the same day. For many hip and knee replacement patients, they are walking the same day as surgery.

“Our goal is to get patients home as soon as safely possible,” says Dr. Richard Berger, MOR joint replacement surgeon. “This makes it more comfortable for them and minimizes the risk of infection and blood clots because patients are active sooner than when procedures are performed in a hospital setting.”

Improved quality of life

The thought of surgery can be scary to some, but keep in mind that surgery and recovery times are much shorter than the pain you may be experiencing every day. Living with pain can make it easy to forget what life was like before the condition started. Try to remember when your quality of life was good, and you enjoyed full mobility, a range of motion, and happy, pain-free life.

Keep your mental health in mind too. Postponing surgery can have a negative impact on mental and emotional health. In a recent study that analyzed the impact of delaying elective surgery, people who postponed surgery tended to experience a lower quality of life and heightened anxiety levels. 

You and your doctor will know when the time is right for you

It is a common misconception that surgeons only care about performing surgery. This is absolutely not our practice’s philosophy and our doctors take pride in pursuing all conservative treatments for patients before surgery is recommended. Our physicians’ goals are to improve your quality of life and to give you the best chance at a pain-free life.

While some conditions may get better with the use of non-surgical therapies, you and your doctor will work together to determine if and when surgery is your best option. 

Appointments still available

Surgery calendars and medical appointments are filling up now at the end of the year but the good news is that we still have availability. Call today to work with our schedulers to set something up before the end of 2020.

Call 877.MD.BONES or visit to schedule a first-available appointment to discuss your joint or spine condition.