A young baseball player with a broken thumb. A college soccer player with a spinal stress fracture. An 89-year-old swimmer with a strained leg muscle.
The specialists at Washington University Orthopedic Injury Clinic, with Barnes-Jewish Hospital, in Chesterfield treat these types of sprains, strains, fractures and more for all ages. The walk-in clinic, which opened in September, offers convenient evening and weekend hours, so when an injury occurs at home, work or a sporting event, patients can walk in to receive timely treatment. “Patients always are seen by an orthopedic specialist when they come in,” notes Dr. Heidi Prather, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the clinic. “No appointment is necessary, and our hours are after work and school, which a lot of people need.”
A team of 50 physicians, including orthopedic and sports specialists, as well as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, are at the ready to help the individual non-athlete to an entire sports team. The physicians commonly see patients with broken bones, athletic and non-athletic overuse injuries, and back, neck, shoulder, knee, elbow and ankle pain. “We see local athletes to the weekend warrior, and we’ve even had an 89-year-old swimmer,” Prather says. “We treat any orthopedic or musculoskeletal problem a patient has. We have on-site X-rays, bracing, crutches—whatever they need.” And depending on a patient’s diagnosis, the staff can provide a referral to a specialist, such as a hand or foot surgeon, for any further treatment they need, adds Dr. Joy English, a non-operative sports medicine specialist at the clinic.
Sarah Price turned to Washington University Orthopedics when she suffered an L-5 spinal fracture—a stress fracture in the back. A patient of Prather, Price is an elite soccer player set to play in college. “We treated her and she was able to return (to playing) and her team won the state championship,” Prather explains.
A Washington University Physician for 15 years, Prather enjoys the opportunity to form long-term relationships with patients of the clinic. “I like evaluating the whole person—for instance, if it’s a knee problem, you also look at the hip and foot.” And English came to St. Louis to help start the injury clinic last year. She notes that the staff and hours make the clinic unique. “Patients are offered orthopedic specialist-level care in a timely manner, and the ability to follow up with another specialist.”
The injury clinic staff sees about 200 patients a month. “And with a deep department of orthopedic specialists,” Prather says, “we have plenty of room to grow that number.”