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“History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children.” – Nelson Mandela.
Our obligation as adults is to protect our youth by any means necessary. The best way to do that is by staying informed about new scientific studies and taking advice from medical professionals on how to best help and nurture the children of the world. Because of their lack of knowledge and experience, toddlers depend on us to guide them through all the dangers and illnesses that may come their way. Even the safest and most responsible adults make mistakes now and again, which is why we are going to dive into everything you need to know about—”nursemaid’s elbow”.
When most people hear the words “nursemaid’s elbow” they are surprised to learn that it has anything to do with young children due to its strange name. In simple terms, nursemaid’s elbow occurs when the radius (one of the bones in the forearm) slides out of place from where it is normally attached to the elbow joint. It is a common condition in children younger than four years of age. Other names include pulled elbow, slipped elbow, or toddler’s elbow. The medical term for Nursemaid’s Elbow is “radial head subluxation”.
Let’s say you are out on the town, taking a leisurely stroll with your toddler. The youngster notices something that catches their eye, and they begin to run towards the excitement, when the parent grabs their arm to stop them, pulls too hard, and suddenly contracts the hand or forearm. This causes the radius to slip out of the ligament holding it into the elbow. It can also occur when an infant rolls himself or herself over, from a fall, or from pulling or swinging a young child by the hand. We all love picking up a baby and playing with them, but it’s important not to be too overzealous because the child is not fully developed to withstand such quick movements.
Nursemaid’s elbow is a tricky injury because it usually occurs to toddlers and young children who may not be able to articulate what exactly the problem is, leaving it up to the parent or guardian to figure it out. At first glance, nursemaid’s elbow may not be obvious and can easily go unnoticed, but the child will usually cry from the discomfort. Other important signs to look for would be: if the child avoids moving their arm below the shoulder, supports one arm with the other hand, holds their arm straight or slightly bent and close to the body, or if they refuse to rotate their palm.
In other words: if the child lacks mobility and demonstrates discomfort and flexibility in the arm, there is a good chance they are experiencing nursemaid’s elbow.
Now that you know the symptoms, the next question is:
The simple answer is: Yes.
Normal use of the arm will be painful and inhibited until the injury is corrected, which is why it is crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible. There are certain cases where nursemaid’s elbow has corrected itself, but there is no reason to take that gamble, especially when dealing with children. Let your healthcare provider be the one to examine your child to make sure there are no fractures or breaks and once the examiner does that, they can begin the process of correcting the injury.
After your child has been officially diagnosed by your healthcare provider, they will perform a physical exam and ask a series of questions about what happened at the time of the injury. This physical exam will test your child’s range of motion and see if there is any tenderness at the elbow. The treatment is a simple, but effective physical maneuver called “nursemaid elbow reduction”. Lasting only a few seconds, the healthcare provider will perform the reduction by gently flexing and rotating the arm. If you hear a “pop” sound, don’t be alarmed! This is simply the joint moving back into place. As far as imaging tests are concerned, they often won’t show evidence of nursemaid’s elbow, however, an X-ray can be used to rule out a fracture or break.
Even though you should seek medical attention to have the joint corrected by a professional, there are forms of treatment you can do on your own. There are plenty of over-the-counter drugs to help your child manage the pain and applying ice to the injured area will also help. There are some adults out there who have attempted the correction maneuver themselves, this is not well advised.
Recovery begins immediately after your child’s elbow has been reduced. The best part is your child will only feel pain for a few seconds, but soon after will feel as good as new!
Now that you know what nursemaid’s elbow is and what signs to look for, let’s discuss a few simple ways to prevent this from happening. The best thing to do is avoid pulling or jerking your child by the arm or hand. This may sound simple, but when a child attempts to cross a street before looking both ways or their curiosity gravitates them to something that can harm them, your parental instincts kick in, telling you to pull them out of the way. Even though you are trying to protect them, you may actually hurt them in the process. Another method would be to use verbal cues instead of physical ones to get their attention and lastly, try not to swing your child around by the hands or arms for fun. Many parents do this because it’s entertaining and puts a smile on their child’s face, but this is probably the most common way children suffer from nursemaid’s elbow.
If the healthcare provider has successfully corrected the joint, nursemaid’s elbow should not come back but it is worth noting that a child who has had this injury is more likely to have it again, than someone who hasn’t. This is because the injury stretches the ligaments, making it harder to hold the bone in place. A child who has experienced Nursemaid’s Elbow may have looser ligaments in general too. Fortunately, as children grow, their bones and ligaments will become stronger, making nursemaid’s elbow highly unlikely after a child turns five years old.
We are privileged to live in a country where we have countless urgent care facilities that are staffed with exceptional medical professionals who can easily help if your child experiences nursemaid’s elbow. This is an injury that should not go un-diagnosed and luckily for you, Chai Care will always be here to supply you with the top-notch service and sensitive care that your child deserves!
* Legal disclaimer: The content of this article and the entire Chai Care blog is for educational purposes only; it does NOT constitute medical advice and must not be considered as such. Please consult a medical professional regarding any symptoms or health concerns you or your loved ones.Dec 12, 2022
Do you suffer from an odd ache here and there in your body?
You’re not alone. We plant the seeds of our future small, annoying afflictions when we’re kids, and those nasty seeds grow into full-blown weeds that can smother our blooming health right on the root.
Perhaps I’m being too poetic here, in a blog article intended to promote our everyday and urgent care services, but this is relevant. What we’re talking here is healthcare for kids and youth:
But that stretches further into life. The habits we establish as kids go far into adulthood, and one of those habits is lack of respect and appreciation of our own body: Of how fragile it is, and how much the damage we do to it will stay with it. As you want your kids to be careful around expensive furniture, or driving your expensive car on a weekend, so you want to make them appreciate that they only have one body and that body must be treated with proper care.
Childhood traumas – of mental and physical kind – should not be underestimated; they may affect the rest of our lives!
Here’s a story from my own life, I hope it resonates with you. Trust me, you don’t want this to happen to your kid.
It’s a commonly known fact that death comes after life. Sadly, this doesn’t happen to be true for most people – who don’t take the trouble to enjoy life to the fullest, and so, the live as though they’re already dead.
(That’s pretty much what I told myself back when I was a little younger.)
Back then, I was reckless, impulsive, and out of control. I embraced every moment as if it were my last because I was fortunate enough to have the foresight that life is short and should be lived to its fullest.
The decisions I was making and the circumstances that I was allowing myself to fall into were significantly more harmful than rewarding.
In my youth, I didn’t think of my future. Honestly, life seemed like it would always be the same and I was the only person to ever live that Father Time wouldn’t harm. Yes, I was delusional and, in many ways, naïve and arrogant but it molded a very important journey that led me down a destructive road that would eventually transform into a more purposeful life. But I had to fall many times before getting there.
For some reason when you’re young, seeking advice, medical assistance, or simply asking for help can be difficult. You think you know everything there is to know and it’s nearly impossible to believe that someone else may be smarter than you. I have lost track of the number of times when my impulses got the best of me, but one memory comes to mind.
Growing up, there wasn’t much to do in my rural Pennsylvania town. My friends and I loved watching action movies and would always reenact intense and dangerous scenes from them, wanting to be as bold as the stars in the films. But then things escalated into full-blown stunts. No harnesses, green screens, or stunt doubles to protect us. All of us were constantly banged up, scratched, and bruised but none of us wanted to look soft, and as silly as it’ll sound, we thought that made us cool.
Our most dangerous and idiotic exploits took place on the local train tracks. Every Friday at 5 PM a massive freight train would speed by transporting who-knows-what. Normally we would play a game of chicken with the steel tube but would make sure to give ourselves plenty of time to hop out of the way before impact. But that got old quickly. The daredevil in me took over and I came up with the bright idea to dangle myself from the bridge above the tracks as the train whizzed by. Even my adventurous pals knew better and warned me not to try it. That only excited me more. I patiently waited for the train to come my way and when I saw the smoke in the distance, I prepared myself. When it was about fifty yards away, I lowered myself, realizing I was not dangling above the train but hanging directly in front of it. I was soon to be a splattered fly on the windshield. My hands were sweaty, and I overestimated my strength. Pulling myself back up to safety was impossible. In a split-second decision, I let go and dropped. One of my friends was brave enough to help me hobble off the tracks just in time before getting crushed, just like our favorite action heroes.
The pain in both my knees, ankles, and back was unlike anything I have ever experienced yet when my buddies tried to call an ambulance for me, I wouldn’t let them. I tried to laugh it off even though my bloodshot eyes said otherwise. After a few more attempts to call for medical attention, they stopped trying and assumed I was OK. Deep down, I wished more than anything that someone would come to my rescue.
Still to this day I have back issues, weak knees, and ligament damage in both ankles all because I was too stubborn and proud to see a medical professional. It’s hard for me to stay seated for long amounts of time and jogging is completely out of the question because my body hasn’t healed in the ways that it needed to.
If only technology was quicker then I would go back in time and grab that kid by his filthy shirt collar and tell him to stop being so foolish. There was no point to it all, no one was impressed and all it left me was a life of pain. Sure, we were bold and maybe brave at times but in the long run, none of those stunts were worth it.
We are fortunate enough to live in a country where we have access to essentially unlimited amounts of medicine, hospitals, urgent care facilities, and clinics that will help us heal our bodies when needed but also supply us with proper information on how to live proactively.
Pediatric traumas of today do not need to remain untreated, and I implore you, the reader of this article: If you know a kid who needs proper care after playing or doing sports maybe a little too recklessly and having been banged up in the process – please, send them to get checked out. You’ll be surprised how much a basic urgent care visit can do for preventing the kind of recurrent pains in the joints or ligaments that too many people suffer absolutely unnecessarily!
But back to my story – unfortunately, I wasn’t as wise in my past as I am now, and the experience I described to you wasn’t enough for me to learn. That wouldn’t come for some time…
* Legal disclaimer: The content of this article and the entire Chai Care blog is for educational purposes only; it does NOT constitute medical advice and must not be considered as such. Please consult a medical professional regarding any symptoms or health concerns you or your loved ones.