Scared to visit Hospital during COVID? Here’s your guide to managing common orthopedic problems at home.

Key highlights – 

  1. Your first aid guide for managing arthritis muscular pains, and minor injuries.
  2. Common tips for managing orthopedic injuries/sprain effectively at home.
  3. Understanding when is it important to visit a doctor. 

It’s an open secret now that fewer people are willing to visit hospitals in view of the ongoing corona pandemic.  People are trying to manage small ailments/semi emergencies at home, but trying to avoid hospitals as far as possible. 

As a result, those who don’t have access to doctor’s advice (over phone) are turning to Google, relatives and friends for advice during emergency hours. The suggestions given by them are often misleading, based purely on their past experience or social media knowledge.

Up to 70% reduction in OPD patients

Mrs Smriti (name changed) unfortunately fell into the same trap, when she made her 81 year old mother to perform few back exercises based on her friend’s suggestion. Soon after the exercises her pain increased, forcing her to get hospitalized. 

“Patients are often seen delaying critical treatments in fear of catching the virus.”

Here are few tips to manage common orthopedic problems at home-

For Injury or Trauma – 

1) Ice compression – Do not apply ice directly on the skin. Wrap it in a towel and then apply it. (10 minutes, 3 times a day).

2) Keep the injured body part elevated (this reduces swelling).

3) Give rest to the injured part. 

4) Keep compression or pressure over the injured area.

5) Provide support – crepe bandage, splint or pressure bandage for the first 48 hours.

“It’s wrong to avoid going to the hospital and rather take chances at home,” 

For knee arthritis – 

1) Avoid squatting, climbing stairs, sitting cross-legged and using Indian type of toilet seat.

2) Do regular hot compression twice daily (10 minutes each).

3) Be regular in quadriceps – hamstring strengthening exercises. (click on the link below for exercises)

https://youtu.be/mec0yxG4ElA

Acute back pain/spasm – 

1) Complete rest (in posture as shown below).

2) Avoid bending forward or lifting heavy weight.

3) Hot compression. (10 minutes, 3 times a day). 

4) Avoid any form of exercises during acute painful conditions.

5) Visit a doctor immediately if weakness, numbness or tingling in the leg.

6) Use pain relieving sprays (alcohol based/counter irritants) for local application over back.

7) For instruction regarding ‘Dos & Donts’ for back pain. Click here – https://youtu.be/xq-xcjsu9kc

Proper sleeping posture for
back pain patients

“There are many ways to consult a doctor – Video consultation, private clinic visit and online Medicare portals, are top few” 

For Cuts/wounds – 

1) Apply pressure and stop bleeding.

2) Clean the wound with running water to remove dirt and lose dead tissue. 

3) Clean the wound with Dettol or betadine liquid and apply a dressing of betadine ointment. 

4) Dressing should be of sterile gauze or clean cloth only. Avoid putting cotton over the wound directly.

5) Consider for tetanus/infection/gas gangrene prophylaxis /treatment if the injury is inflicted by a grossly contaminated object. 

Chronic neck pain –

1) Maintain good posture (especially while working on laptop and sleeping).

Proper sitting posture

2) Be regular in neck exercises.

3) Do intermittent stretching (every 30 minutes), if working on the laptop for long hours. 

4) Hot compression over sore muscles at night. (10 minutes, using a warm water bag)

5) For video regarding chronic neck pain instructions, click here 👇

https://youtu.be/42DF2_NjxfY

When to visit a doctor (red flag signs) – 

1) Numbness, tingling in a limb or body part.

2) Pain out of proportion to the intensity of the injury.

3) Swelling or pain not subsiding within 48 hours.

4) Difficulty or inability to control urine or bladder. 

5) Visible/gross deformity in limb post-injury.

6) Open wounds or bleeding tissues.

7) Inability to move a body part

8) Severe swelling over the area.

9) Discoloration or limb turning pale.

Common orthopedic problems can be effectively managed at home to a major extent. But visiting a hospital is a must when situation gets serious (Red flag signs).  It is important to understand when and where to go if required. Online medical consultation and Video consultations are growing in India to tackle the situation. Before heading towards hospital it is always wise to contact your doctor through Video-consultation and take his opinion.

Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions given in this article are for general information purposes only. These should not be taken as professional medical advice. Please visit your doctor for any specific query related to medical matters. 

Published by A Contemplating Doctor

An Orthopaedic surgeon with keen interest in public health and Indian healthcare policies.

One thought on “Scared to visit Hospital during COVID? Here’s your guide to managing common orthopedic problems at home.

  1. Nice article Dr Himanshu.
    It seems to b so true that most of patients are reluctant to visit hospitals in fear of contracting the disease.

    So managing the therapeutic treatments are becoming all the more difficult …

    Options of teleconsult still made the task slightly easy .. atleast patients can approach and get the guidance immediately

    Thx for the best guidelines related to ortho issues

    Like

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