Nursemaid’s Elbow?

Waiting apprehensively for the doc…

“WAAAAAAHHHHHHH!” Bpoo wailed. She stood there, tears streaming from her eyes, favoring her wrist. Even Mummy couldn’t calm her down.

“I must’ve twisted it,” I said sheepishly.

“You silly sod. I warned you about swinging her around,” Margaret replied.

“Hey, we were both swinging her!” I retorted.

Just a few minutes earlier, Bpoo was happily toddling with us through the streets of downtown Santa Rosa. When crossing the street or approaching uneven surfaces, after a count of three, Margaret and I would carefully lift her up by her hands and gently swing her over the curbs and bumps. Then, while I was still holding her hand, Bpoo scuttled in one direction while I continued in another, and suddenly the crying started.

We changed our plans for dinner and headed home, with Bethypoo crying during the 20-minute drive. At home, I googled “twisted wrist” and “toddler” and the hits I skimmed over suggested an ice pack and ibuprofen to soothe the injury. The Advil and ice pack calmed her down a bit, but she still gingerly held her wrist, and any slight movement would start up her crying again.

Finally, we decided to head to the emergency room to have Bpoo checked out.

A nurse took Bpoo’s vitals, and we were immediately seen by a pediatrician. After we described what happened, the pediatrician nodded and explained what Nursemaid’s Elbow was, while I listened skeptically. A dislocated elbow?

Ignoring Bpoo’s cries of protest, the doctor held her wrist and elbow, rotated her forearm with palm facing up, and with a quick snapping motion raised it towards her. I winced at the faint popping sound coming from her elbow, but suddenly Bpoo was all smiles, like nothing ever happened! I couldn’t believe it…this three-second maneuver ended over two hours of her misery! All motion to her arm was restored without any further problems and best of all, the crying finally stopped!

Based on my internet research and the pediatrician’s explanation, nursemaid’s elbow is fairly common in young children under age three. With their joints not fully developed in the elbow region, any slight twisting due to occurrences such as swinging from the arms, struggling while getting dressed, or stopping themselves during a fall will easily cause a dislocated elbow. The child may favor their wrist, giving the impression that their injury is located there. I just described the treatment Bpoo received for this, which, by the way, should only be carried out by a trained professional, no matter how tempting it may be to YouTube the procedure!

A lesson learned…with many more to come, I’m sure.

2 Responses to “Nursemaid’s Elbow?”

  1. Ben

    I’ve been there. I popped my daughter’s elbow out of place when she was one. Man, I felt horrible, too. Lesson learned!


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