There is a common practice to see parents, nannies and caregivers, lift children from their hands, this practice can lead to dislocation of one of the bones in the elbow joint leading to a condition known as Nursemaid’s elbow or what your doctor will call a radial head subluxation, (a subluxation is simply a partial dislocation)
When it comes to children, their bones and ligament are a bit loose than those of adults, this is normal as the child is still growing and this injury is common among children between 1 to 4 years of age
The bones of the elbow are held together by ligaments, when you pull or exert substantial force on the arm or hands, you can dislocate this elbow joint
A number of the things that can cause this are
- Pulling a child up by the arms
- Jerking a child by the hand to correct them
- Swinging a child by the arms
- When a baby rolls over into an uncomfortable position
- Breaking a child’s fall by holding the arm
Can a fall cause this? Not likely, in fact, it is rare to have this condition as a result of a fall
The child who has this condition will hold their affected arm in a straight way with a slight bend in the elbow, you may notice an awkward bend in the affected arm, or simply notice that the child would not want to use the affected arm
Would there be swelling or redness?
If you notice any of this, please take your child to the paediatrician or hospital close by to get it looked at.
Your doctor may or may not require an X-ray of the affected arm, but before that, he or she would examine and reach a diagnosis, to rule out a fracture
Then he or she would attempt a process called reduction, this is to help move the bones and ligament back into place
The doctor will fold the child’s arm upward from a straight position, turning the palm as the arm bends at the elbow. They’ll support your child’s elbow with the other hand. You may hear a faint pop or click.
Please do not attempt this at home, because you do not know what other complications you may be dealing with
After this, your doctor will give your child some pain medication to help with the pain, the child usually gets better after 5 to 10 minutes
Children who have this condition will most likely have it again, but you can prevent them by avoiding the things that can cause them
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