Getting ready for your appointment
Doctor Butzen has office hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8am to 4pm. To schedule an appointment, call (970) 259-3020 and ask to make an appointment with Doctor Butzen. If you require prompt care, please ask for Doctor Butzen’s assistant, who can also help schedule. If she is not available, feel free to leave a message on her voicemail, which she regularly checks, and usually will respond within an hour.
If you are unable to keep your appointment, please give us at least 24 hours’ notice. That way, we can fill your appointment slot with someone from the waiting (next available appointment) list.
Doctor Butzen makes every effort to honor all time commitments. Unfortunately, because of unanticipated problems and emergencies, your appointment may sometimes be delayed. Doctor Butzen strives to provide the highest quality medical care to all patients, in all situations, and to do this right it takes time. We will make every effort to keep such delays to a minimum and will keep you informed of them as they occur.
If you are a new patient, please arrive with all pertinent medical records, including X-rays and other imaging, records of procedures or surgeries, etc. This is easiest requested from your previous physician, picked up, and hand delivered yourself at the time of the appointment. To request files be sent to Doctor Butzen’s office, you will most likely need to fill out a release of information from your previous physician’s office, and the delivery of these files can sometimes be sluggish, so please provide 2 or more weeks for this.
Casts and splints support and protect injured bones and soft tissue. When you break a bone, Doctor Butzen will ensure the bones are in an “acceptable” position. Casts and splints hold the bones in place while they heal. They also reduce pain, swelling, and muscle spasm. In some cases, splints and casts are applied following surgery.
Splints or "half-casts" have the rigid, supportive piece on only one side of the limb, which typically provides less support than casts. However, splints can be adjusted and accommodate swelling from injuries easier than enclosed casts. Casts are custom-made and circumferential, and thus do not expand in the setting of increased swelling. They must fit the shape of your injured limb correctly to provide the best support.
Both splints and casts use padding, usually cotton, as a protective layer next to the skin. The outer, hard/supportive layer is usually fiberglass, which is strong and lightweight.
Swelling due to your injury may cause pressure in your splint or cast for the first 48 to 72 hours. This may cause your injured arm or leg to feel snug or tight in the splint or cast. It is very important to keep the swelling down. This will lessen pain and help your injury heal. To help reduce swelling:
- Elevate. It is very important to elevate your injured arm or leg for the first 24 to 72 hours. Prop your injured arm or leg up above your heart by putting it on pillows or some other support.
- Exercise. Move your uninjured, but swollen fingers or toes gently and often. Moving them often will prevent stiffness and help reduce the swelling.
- Ice. Apply ice to the splint or cast. Place the ice in a dry plastic bag or ice pack and loosely wrap it around the splint or cast at the level of the injury.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor's office immediately for advice.
- Increased pain and the feeling that the splint or cast is too tight. This may be caused by swelling.
- Numbness and tingling in your hand or foot. This may be caused by too much pressure on the nerves.
- Burning and stinging. This may be caused by too much pressure on the skin.
- Excessive swelling below the cast. This may mean the cast is slowing your blood circulation.
- Loss of active movement of toes or fingers. This requires an urgent evaluation by your doctor.
- Keep your splint or cast dry. The padding layer is cotton, which is highly absorbent and difficult to dry out. Use two layers of plastic bag and seal with duct tape or purchase waterproof shields to keep your splint or cast dry while you shower or bathe. Even if the cast is covered, do not submerge it or hold it under running water.
- Avoid dirt. Keep dirt, sand, and powder away from the inside of your splint or cast.
- Padding. Do not pull out the padding from your splint or cast.
- Itching. Do not stick objects such as coat hangers inside the splint or cast to scratch itching skin. Do not apply powders or deodorants to itching skin.
- Trimming. Do not break off rough edges of the cast or trim the cast before asking your doctor.
- Skin. Inspect the skin around the cast. If your skin becomes red or raw around the cast, contact your doctor.
- Inspect the cast regularly. If it becomes cracked or develops soft spots, contact your doctor's office.
Use common sense. You have a serious injury and you must protect your cast from damage so it can protect your injury while it heals. After the initial swelling has subsided, proper splint or cast support will usually allow you to continue your daily activities with a minimum of inconvenience.
Prescription refills are available during office hours (8am to 5 pm) Monday through Thursday. Please provide time for the office to contact Doctor Butzen to authorize these refills. We will do our best to provide refills on Friday, but frequently we are unable to provide this. Be advised that the office closes on Friday at 3:00 pm.
Doctor Butzen’s goal is to deliver prompt and optimal care and treatment for the injured worker, in an attempt to return that worker back to maximum employment potential. He aims to provide objective (evidence-based) and cost effective treatments.
For employers, Doctor Butzen provides a quick and easy access point for referring injured employees for specialist orthopedic care. Referrals take priority, and can typically be scheduled within 48 hours, or sooner in an emergency situation. In-office X-ray allows a rapid diagnosis and initiation of treatment at the first visit, and authorization and scheduling of advanced imaging is performed in-office as well. To schedule an appointment with Doctor Butzen, please call (970) 259-3020, and if it is an urgent referral, ask for his assistant, who can help provide expedited scheduling.
Please provide feedback to Doctor Butzen about any of the following topics:
- Overall medical care
- Office flow, efficiencies
- Other activities
You may also use the same form to request an appointment. Note that the turnaround time for this may be up to 24 hours.
American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) - The definitive society for orthopedic surgeons
AAOS - Orthoinfo - Academy provided information specifically for patients
Animas Orthopedic Associates - Doctor Butzen's Orthopedic Group's Website
Doctor Butzen's Facebook Page - Interesting Posts. "Like" it for updates!