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Fracture & Trauma Patient Education

Is it a Broken Bone or a Fracture?

Patients often ask “Is my bone broken or is it just fractured?”  A fracture is a broken bone so they are the same thing. Our fracture team is dedicated to fixing all broken bones according the highest standards of care.

OrthoInfo is a trusted source of information about musculoskeletal conditions and injuries — how they are treated, as well as how they can be prevented. Our articles and videos are developed by orthopedic surgeons who are members of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. All of the content on our website is peer-reviewed by physician members of the OrthoInfo Editorial Board who are experts in their fields. This peer-review process ensures the accuracy and completeness of our content. The injuries treated by our Fracture and Trauma team are:

The Importance of Fellowship Training

Not all orthopedic surgeons are fracture specialists. When you get injured and go to the emergency room, unless you ask for a ROC on call physician, you may not be getting care from a fracture specialist. In many cases, hospital policy dictates that patients are referred to the “On Call” physician. This may be a sports doctor or spine surgeon who does not normally treat complex fractures.

All members of our Fracture Care & Trauma Team are Trauma Fellowship trained orthopedic surgeons. This means that each surgeon completed an extra year of training dedicated just to fracture surgery. As such, they have a lot of experience in treating all fracture types.

Pain Medication Policy:

While under the care of physicians at Reno Orthopedic Center, prescription medication may be used as part of your treatment. Medications are used to help manage pain and improve functioning. Many of these medications are controlled substances, which must be carefully monitored. The following rules must be followed in order to receive prescription medication while a patient at Reno Orthopedic Center.

Period of Treatment
Your orthopedic provider will be treating your pain during the “acute” period, which is generally expected to be 6-8 weeks. Your provider will gradually decrease the dosage, frequency, potency, and quantity of tablets prescribed as your pain lessens over time. At any time you may likewise request a reduction. If treatment for pain extends beyond three months, you may be referred to a pain management specialist for extended treatment.

  • Medications must be used only as prescribed and directed.
  • Notify your physician if you may be pregnant.
  • Prescriptions will be filled only at appointment time, unless otherwise arranged.
  • Refills will be provided MONDAY thru FRIDAY, 9 am to 5 pm. Prescriptions are not available on weekends, holidays, or after-hours.
  • Medications not taken as directed may “run out” early. Please do not call requesting early refills.
  • Patients who come to the clinic without an appointment seeking on-demand prescriptions will be denied. It is your responsibility to plan ahead and manage your prescription refills according to this policy.
  • Nevada Law prohibits patients from obtaining pain medication from more than one physician without notifying all physicians involved.

Cast Care Recommendations


LISTEN TO YOUR PROVIDER. They will explain your restrictions for bearing weight on, or using your injured extremity. Do not increase the amount of weight you place on your injured extremity until instructed to do so by your provider.

  • Keep your cast/splint clean.
  • Keep your cast/splint clean dry. Wet casts/splints can cause skin irritation, and can lead to infection.
  • If your cast becomes damp due to sweating or small amounts of water, you may dry it using a hairdryer on the cool setting (not the HOT setting). If your cast/splint is very wet or saturated, please contact our office (775-786-3040), as it may need to be changed.
  • Do not allow your cast/splint to become wet in the shower. Plastic cast covers are available at the ROC Shop, or at a local pharmacy, and can help keep water out of your cast/splint.
  • Itching – casts and splints often itch. It is important, however, that you not put anything into the cast or splint to scratch, as this can cause skin irritation and potentially an infection.
  • Cast edge irritation – moleskin or cotton padding can be obtained at your local pharmacy, and can help relieve irritation from the edge of a cast.

Walking Boot Instructions

  • TOES INSIDE! Make sure your toes do not hang beyond the front edge of the device. You may purchase a toe cover/guard at The Shop in the ROC Medical Plaza (first floor).
  • ALWAYS DEFLATE medical boot air bladders BEFORE removing. This makes putting it back on faster and it ensures a good fit when you re-inflate the bladders.
  • BODY COMFORT is important. The medical boot/shoe may be taller than your regular shoe. To avoid pain in the knees, hips, or back, purchase an “EVEN-UP” device in The Shop here in the ROC Medical Plaza (first floor) or order it from the manufacturer. The Even-up is placed on the shoe of your unaffected side.
  • SHOWERING If you have been instructed not to remove your boot for showering, you must keep your boot dry. Plastic cast covers can be used to keep your boot dry, and can be purchased at The Shop here in the ROC Medical Plaza (first floor) or at a local pharmacy.

Contact Our Office (775-786-3040) Immediately if:

  • You develop a fever of 101.5 Fahrenheit or greater
  • You notice new, increased, or concerning wound drainage from your surgical wound
  • You have a sudden increase in pain, or new inability to control your pain
  • Your cast or splint breaks or becomes very wet
  • Your cast or splint becomes uncomfortably loose
  • Your cast or splint becomes uncomfortably tight or snug. You should first elevate the affected extremity above the level of your heart (toes above your nose, or fingers in the air).
  • Your fingers/toes become swollen, numb, or tingly, or are suddenly difficult to move