As society reopens, urgent care gets busy

By The Health News Team | June 2, 2021
Close up of a boy with a plaster arm.

A recent uptick in urgent care visits is a telltale sign that the county is opening up and people are returning to activities they had neglected for some time.

“We are definitely seeing a trend toward seasonal volumes,” says Dr. Karen Tipler, associate medical director for the Sharp Rees-Stealy Sorrento Mesa Urgent Care.

As people resume outdoor activities that were curtailed during the height of the pandemic, Dr. Tipler has seen a spike in recreational injuries.

“Many of the injuries we are seeing are related to patients enjoying the great outdoors,” she says. “Personally, I have treated several mountain bikers with injuries to their arms and legs. In addition, I had two patients with tick exposures after hiking, and others suffering unfortunate falls while gardening.”

Dr. Tipler has also observed an increase in soccer injuries coming into urgent care. “I have seen two ankle injuries and a concussion from ‘heading’ the ball,” she says.

Overall, she notes that sports injuries arriving at urgent care are still lagging behind pre-pandemic numbers.

“Sports injuries are not as common as we have seen in the past at this time of year,” says Dr. Tipler. “While people are exploring nature in greater numbers, the participation level in organized sports has dropped due to the pandemic, resulting in a decline in those types of injuries.”

Avoiding a trip to urgent care

As activity levels increase, Dr. Tipler urges people to exercise caution when returning to activities they haven’t done in a while. She strongly recommends a gradual buildup to a pre-pandemic level of intensity.

“Many of us might be de-conditioned after being sedentary for so many months,” she says. “Going ‘all out’ is when injuries are more likely to happen.”

Dr. Tipler says a simple rule should be followed regarding injuries and urgent care visits.

“Go to urgent care when you have an injury that should be seen the same day.”

She also cautions that when planning any group activity, people should be aware of county guidelines regarding COVID-19, as well as other safety precautions.

“As a physician, my first concern is always safety,” she says. “When on hiking trails or at the beach, pay careful attention to signage concerning facial coverings and social distancing. And, if you’re engaging in a new activity like hiking, wear appropriate footwear and sun protection, bring plenty of water, and watch where you step as we are entering rattlesnake season.”

She adds that if you do have an injury that requires urgent care, know that you are in good hands. Through Sharp's virtual urgent care, patients can be seen daily, including nights and weekends. For in-person urgent care visits, patients can access wait time information online, before they even leave the house. And strong guidelines at the clinics ensure safety from COVID-19.

“Urgent care clinics have been open throughout the pandemic and we have taken strict precautions from the beginning,” she says. “When you arrive at an urgent care clinic, you will be asked several symptom-screening questions. We can assure you of safe and excellent care.”

To learn more about how you can find a doctor at Sharp Rees-Stealy, go to

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Dr. Karen Tipler


Dr. Karen Tipler is an associate medical director for the Sharp Rees-Stealy Sorrento Mesa Urgent Care.

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