Fracture Clinic

The Fracture Clinic, part of Ambulatory Care Services, is one of the busiest outpatient services at the Health Sciences Centre with over 18,000 visits per year. The centralized clinic provides patients with fractures or suspected fractures access to orthopaedic surgeons for assessment, setting and casting, and consultation. It also serves patients who require joint replacement (knee and hip).

Patients can only be referred to the Fracture Clinic by their primary care provider (family doctor or nurse practitioner), a doctor in the Emergency Department, or another doctor such as at a walk-in clinic. Those patients who have had joint replacement surgery will have their follow-up appointments at the Fracture Clinic as well.

What to Expect

At the Clinic

Wait times are an ongoing issue at the Fracture Clinic for a variety of reasons. High-volume, various referral methods (primary care providers, Emergency Department, walk-in clinics, etc.), the fact that some patients need only a few minutes with the doctor while others may require more time, and the fact that it is a regional referral centre are a few of the main reasons. It is important to note too that this is not just a problem at the Health Sciences Centre – Fracture Clinics throughout Ontario tend to have higher wait times than might be expected. We are working on a number of strategies to help reduce wait times for our patients, and indeed we are already seeing results.

Wait times can be several hours, depending on volume for that day. We recommend that you:

  • Come with a family or loved one to help keep you company or assist you as needed
  • Bring a book or other form of entertainment
  • Bring a snack, especially if you have specific dietary needs including diabetes
  • Ask for a pager so that you can go to the cafeteria, visit friends or family in the Health Sciences Centre or wait in another less congested area of the facility or grounds

We will do everything we can to get you in to see your doctor as quickly as possible.

In the Doctor’s Office

The doctor – usually an orthopaedic surgeon – will assess you including reviewing any diagnostic images (X-rays, CT scans, MRI, etc.) to determine whether or not you have a break, and the extent of that break. If you do have a broken bone, you may get a cast from a casting technician. Some breaks, most notably ribs, cannot be casted. The doctor will go over all information about taking care of your broken bone, taking care of your cast, and other information as needed. Please take this opportunity to ask any of your questions as well at this time.

The doctor will also ask you to book follow-up appointments including an appointment for cast removal. These appointments should be made at the Fracture Clinic reception before your leave the Fracture Clinic. After your cast is removed, the doctor may also discuss possible rehabilitation.

If you are at the Fracture Clinic for a possible knee or hip replacement, the orthopaedic surgeon will discuss options for you during this time, including surgery.

If You Are Experiencing Symptoms After Casting…

Contact your primary care provider or go to the Emergency Department if you experience the following symptoms after you have a cast:

  • Steady increasing or sudden severe pain in limb
  • Persistent tingling or swelling of the fingers or toes
  • Numbness, coldness, or blueness of the fingers or toes
  • Steadily increasing tightness of the plaster, or the sensation of unstoppable swelling