How Do I Get Nursmaid’s Elbow?

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If your child cries all of a sudden, it might not just indicate he or she is wet or hungry and should be fed… there are various meanings when a baby cries and of them might be a case of nursemaid’s elbow.  You must be aware of the nursemaid’s elbow symptoms so that you will know what you are going to do next.

Nursemaid elbow is a layman’s term for the condition called Radial Head Subluxation. It is common among infants and children since they have underdeveloped bones and body structures, therefore wear and tear can easily happen to them. This happens due to the improper handling of a child, tugging a child’s or infant’s arm incorrectly or improper positioning of the infant on the bed.

Nursemaid Elbow Symptoms

Right after the injury occurs; a child will cry for pain and will not use the affected arm.  The child will try to protect the elbow from other parts of the body, holding it slightly bent with the forearm turned and the thumb just before the body.  Their first reaction is to support the aching arm with the other arm.

Shortly, the child may return to playing but you will notice that he is not using the affected arm.  However, if the forearm is turned with the thumb away to show the palm upward, the child will cry. Any child who could talk may be able explain the pain that they are feeling in the wrist or shoulder. Other than not using the affected area, there are no other signs or symptoms which you may notice in a child with nursemaid’s elbow symptoms.

Nursemaid Elbow Treatment

If you notice nursemaid’s elbow symptoms, seek professional help. The most common procedure a physician will do is to maneuver the subluxed radial head in order to minimize the subluxation.

The child must sit on the lap of his guardian while facing the doctor.  The doctor will then hold the affected arm and turn the palm upward while flexing at the elbow.  Sometimes the attending physician will try to straighten the arm inward.

During the treatment, the child may cry because of pain.  After a while, the child will not feel any pain in the arm. If the procedure did not produce the expected result, x-ray may be prepared by the doctor to check for bone fractures.  The elbow can be easily relocated by a technologist with the help of x-ray.

If nursemaid’s elbow symptoms are not reduced, the doctor may need to place a temporary splint on the affected arm in order to obtain more accurate radiographic images, or in order to prepare for a more advanced form of reducing the subluxation.

In some cases, a nursemaid elbow will usually resolve spontaneously and reattempt to reduce itself. Surgical procedure to correct a subluxed radial head is rarely performed.

Prevention of Nursemaid Elbow Symptoms

Since many of these cases are related to how parents handle their child, the burden must come from the parents. They have to be more careful in tugging or jerking the arms of the baby or the child. Also, properly positioning them on bed and providing support to their elbows will be very essential.




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