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Frequently Asked Questions

Please find below the answers to some frequently asked questions at Orthopaedic Associates.

General Information

How do I make an appointment?

To request an appointment, we now offer two convenient options for our patients. Existing patients can use our online patient portal to request an appointment online. New and existing patients can call us at (440) 892-1440 Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 am and 4:30 pm.

What do I need to bring for my first appointment?

Please bring the following with you:

  • Insurance card(s)
  • Photo ID
  • Any co-pay and/or deductible
  • List of current medications including strength/dosage
  • List of any allergies
  • Any outside films and/or diagnostic reports
  • Lab results
  • Printed and completed patient registration form
  • Printed and completed health history form
  • Printed and completed Privacy Notice form

Are there wheelchairs available at your locations?

Wheelchairs are available at all of our locations.

What are my financial responsibilities?

We are required to collect your co-pay at the time of your visit. Your co-pay amount depends on your insurance plan and any procedures that may be provided during your visit. Upon seeing one of our specialists, you must also contact your insurance company if any of the following are prescribed or ordered by our physicians to determine if prior authorization is required:

  • Physical and/or occupational therapy
  • Diagnostics testing (MRI, bone scan, CT scan, blood work, etc.)
  • Durable medical equipment (braces, etc.)
  • Referral to another specialist for second opinion and/or treatment
  • Pain management, epidural blocks, etc.

All outstanding balances must be paid prior to your next visit or you might not be scheduled until payment is made. Workers’ compensation patients who refuse to provide their personal insurance information as a backup will be responsible for payment if your workers’ compensation insurance is denied.

Patients with NO Insurance:

We require an upfront fee of $250.00 for all patients who do not have insurance. We accept cash, checks, MasterCard, and Visa.

For more details, please refer to: Insurance Guidelines.

How do I request a copy of my medical records?

To obtain a copy of your medical records please call our Westlake office at (440) 892-1440 Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 am and 4:30 pm. We ask that you allow 7 to 10 days for your request to be completed. We will contact you when the medical records are ready to be picked up at our Westlake office.

You will need to sign an authorization at the time of pickup to release your records. Unless you have designated another individual on your HIPAA Privacy Form, no one else will be allowed to pick up your records.

Are there limits to when narcotic refills can be made?

Yes, narcotic refills will NOT be made after normal office hours (Monday through Friday - 8:00AM to 4:30PM) nor on the weekends. Narcotic refills will also NOT be done if the original script is misplaced or destroyed.  

General Orthopaedics

What is a joint?

A joint is the junction of two or more bones – an articulating hinge. Examples include the knee, shoulder, elbow, and hip joints.

What is a tendon? Ligament? Cartilage?

A tendon is a band of tissue that connects muscle to bone. A ligament is an elastic band of tissue that connects bone to bone and provides stability to a joint. Cartilage is a soft, gel-like padding between bones that protects joints and facilitates movement.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative joint disease. It is caused by injury or years of use. It results when the smooth cartilage between the bone joints wears out or is damaged by injury or disease. It commonly affects the knee joint. 

What is rheumatoid arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is caused by inflammation of the lining of the joints. It tends to be present for many years. Rheumatoid arthritis usually affects many joints and can lead to damage of cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and bone. It commonly affects the hands. This may cause deformity of the joints. The cause of rheumatoid arthritis is not yet fully understood, as it varies from person to person.

Why do bones wear out?

As we age our bones become less elastic and more brittle. In addition, joints between bones may become rough as the cartilage wears out.

Should I apply ice or heat to an injury?

Ice packs and heat pads are among the most commonly used treatments in orthopaedics. Ice treatment is most commonly used for acute injuries. If you have a recent injury (within the last 48 hours) where swelling is a problem, you should use ice treatment. Ice packs can help minimize swelling around the injury. Ice treatments may also be used for chronic conditions such as overuse injuries in athletics. In this case, ice the injured area after activity for twenty minutes; never before activity. Be sure to not place the ice directly on your skin.

Heat treatments should be used for chronic conditions to help relax and loosen tissues, and to stimulate blood flow to the area. Use heat treatments for chronic conditions, such as overuse injuries, before participating in activities. Never leave heating pads or towels on for extended periods or while sleeping.

What is a cortisone injection?

Cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory medication. Cortisone is not a pain-relieving medication. It only treats inflammation. If pain is decreased from cortisone, it is because the inflammation is diminished. Very high concentrations of cortisone can be injected into a particular area of inflammation, while keeping potential side effects to a minimum. Cortisone injections usually work within a few days, and the effects can last up to several weeks. The shot can be slightly painful, especially when given into a joint, but in skilled hands it usually is well-tolerated.

Common Orthopaedic Injuries & Conditions

What causes knee problems?

There are two general kinds of knee problems: traumatic and inflammatory. Traumatic knee problems result from injury, such as a direct blow or sudden movement that strains the knee beyond its normal range of movement. Inflammatory knee problems occur in certain rheumatic diseases, including arthritis, that damage the knee.

How are orthopaedic problems diagnosed?

Physicians use several methods to diagnose orthopaedic problems. A patient’s medical history tells the doctor details about their symptoms and about any injury, condition, or general health problem that might be causing the problem.

During a physical examination, the physician might manipulate the injured area to assess motion, function and location of the pain. In some cases physicians might use one or more of the following tests to determine the nature of an orthopaedic problem: digital x-rays, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), arthroscopy, bone scan (radionuclide scanning), CAT scan (computerized axial tomography), or an arthrogram.

What causes a stress fracture?

Stress fractures are microscopic fractures of bone resulting from repeated “stress,” usually from bearing your own weight. For example, stress fractures of the feet are related to long walking, running, or other athletic activities. Stress fractures can occur in other bones of the lower leg as well as the upper extremities. This particular type of fracture is often too tiny to show up on a routine X-ray and generally requires an MRI or bone scan to make a diagnosis.

What is a compression fracture?

This type of bone fracture generally results from a fall where the vertebral column is compressed and then, under the extreme pressure, cracks or breaks. This type of bone fracture may also be referred to as an impact fracture.

What is a compound (open) bone fracture?

When a bone breaks and fragments of the bone penetrate through the internal soft tissue of the body and break through the skin from the inside, it is called a compound or open fracture.

What is a complete bone fracture?

A complete bone fracture occurs when the bone has been completely fractured through its own width. This is different from a hairline fracture or incomplete bone fracture where there is only a “crack” and not a complete break.

What is a hairline fracture?

This type of bone fracture involves minimal trauma to the bone and surrounding soft tissues. It is an incomplete fracture with no significant bone displacement and is considered a stable fracture. With this type of fracture, also known as a fissure fracture, the crack only extends into the outer layer of the bone but not completely through the entire bone.

Orthopaedic Surgery

How and when do I need to fast prior to surgery?

Many surgeries require fasting for several hours prior to the procedure. Ask your physician or surgery scheduler for specific directions.

Where can I learn more about my upcoming surgery?

There are many different ways to learn about a particular orthopaedic surgery. Visit our online patient education library, or you may simply ask your physician.

Am I too old for surgery?

Age is not a problem if you are in reasonable health and have the desire to continue living a productive, active life. You may be asked to see your primary care physician for his or her opinion about your general health and readiness for surgery.

What is arthroscopic surgery?

Prior to 1970, most joint surgery required large incisions and a prolonged recovery. Fortunately, arthroscopic surgery has completely changed the way joint injuries are treated. With the aid of an arthroscope (a small fiber-optic viewing instrument that the surgeon inserts through a tiny incision) physicians can easily examine, diagnose, and treat joint problems.

Physical and Occupational Therapy

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy is the treatment of injuries or disorders using physical methods such as exercise, massage, or the application of heat. At Orthopaedic Associates Inc., our trained staff will work with you to establish a treatment program individually designed for your specific needs.

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives. Occupational therapy assists people in developing the "skills for the job of living" necessary for independent and satisfying lives. At Orthopaedic Associates Inc., our trained staff will work with you to establish a treatment program individually designed for your specific needs.

How long will my therapy visit last?

You initial evaluation will usually last about an hour. Then, depending upon your overall health and the type of injury you have, you’ll normally have office visits 1-3 times per week lasting from 30 minutes to an hour or more.

What should I wear to my therapy session?

It’s best to wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing. Shorts are recommended for treatment involving areas such as the hip, knee, or thigh.

Will my insurance cover my physical therapy?

We have a list of insurance companies with which we participate. Although individual plans vary, nearly all will cover outpatient physical and/or occupational therapy. Some insurance companies require pre-approval before beginning treatment, so be sure to check with your insurance company if you are unsure about coverage.

Most insurance companies have a co-pay. Payment will be required at the time of your visit. We accept cash, checks, MasterCard, and Visa.

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We treat all kinds of orthopedic conditions. Find your condition or treatment in our patient education library to learn more!
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