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Nursemaid's Elbow: What Is It? How Is It Treated?

Wednesday, 02 April 2014 12:40 AM

Nursemaid’s elbow is a condition of dislocation of the radius, a bone in the elbow. When the bone slips from its normal position at the elbow, this dislocation is termed nursemaid’s elbow. Medically, nursemaid’s elbow is called radial head dislocation. Nursemaid’s elbow commonly occurs in children. Dislocation of the elbow may occur even three to four weeks after the actual injury. Contact the doctor if children are unable to move their arms.
Nursemaid’s elbow generally affects children under 5. Nursemaid’s elbow may occur if children are pulled up or lifted by the wrist or hand. When children are lifted using only one of their arms, the uneven weight may cause nursemaid’s elbow. A complication of the dislocation of the radius causes children to face a limitation in moving their arms. If the dislocation of the radius is not treated, the child may face a permanent dislocation of this bone.
Symptoms and Causes of Nursemaid’s Elbow
Children suffering from nursemaid’s elbow may start crying or show extreme discomfort after the injury. Due to elbow pain, children may refuse to move their arms. Some children may stop crying after the pain subsides but they may still refuse to move their elbow. Children may move their shoulders but not the elbows. Injured children may also hold their arms slightly bent at the elbow. Children may keep the elbow pressed against the abdominal area.
Many causes may lead to a dislocation of the radius bone in children. For example, jerking a child’s arm, pulling the child up by his or her hand, breaking a fall with the arm, swinging a toddler by the arms, and a child rolling over in an awkward way are some actions that may cause a dislocation of the radius.
Treatment of Nursemaid’s Elbow  
Consult the doctor for proper treatment of nursemaid’s elbow. Application of an ice pack on the elbow is a useful way to treat the pain of nursemaid’s elbow. A child should immediately be taken to the hospital to enable doctors to fix the dislocation. A doctor can slip the dislocated bone back into its proper place, generally without the requirement of any pain medications. Trying to fix a dislocation at home can hurt children further. Hence, do not try fixing a dislocation without consulting a medical practitioner.
If nursemaid’s elbow occurs repeatedly, a doctor can advise you about how to deal with the problem of repeated dislocation of the radius. It is advisable not to lift children through one of their arms. Instead, lift a child by holding both the arms, using their upper arms or from under the armpits, but always using both the arms. It is important to support a child’s body by providing proper support while lifting them by their arms.

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Nursemaid’s elbow is dislocation of the bone in the elbow. It mostly occurs in children due to injuries. Children affected by a dislocation of the bone refuse to move their arms due to pain in the elbow. Doctors can correct the dislocation of the bone.
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 12:40 AM
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