How many times have you picked up your child by their arm? Have you ever playfully swung them by their arm? Take a read of this and find out why you should not.
Nursemaid’s elbow is a common injury in young children. It is sometimes referred to as “pulled elbow” because it can happen when a young child’s elbow is pulled and partially dislocates. The medical term for the injury is “radial head subluxation.”
Because a young child’s bones and muscles are still developing and growing, it takes very little force to pull the bones of the elbow partially out-of-place, making this injury very common. It occurs most often in children ages 1 to 4, but can happen any time from birth up to 7 years of age.
Although the injury may cause a lot of pain, a doctor usually can easily reset the elbow, quickly relieving any discomfort and restoring arm movement although the child may require a sling and pain relief.
Nursemaid’s elbow normally happens when an adult holds a child’s hand or wrist and pulls suddenly on the arm to avoid a dangerous situation such as walking out into the road or to help the child up a step. The injury may also occur whilst playing when an older friend or family member swings a child around holding just the arms or hands, many parents have done this by both holding a child’s hand and swinging them as they walk along.
Nursemaid’s elbow is hardly ever caused by falling over. If a child injures the elbow when falling onto an outstretched hand or directly onto the elbow, it may be a broken bone rather than nursemaid’s elbow.
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