Once back on her feet, she began crying and would not stop. And it wasn't her "you didn't let me do what I wanted" cry either. It seemed like something was wrong. After a minute or two went by, I realized she wasn't using her arm and she was still crying. Pop took her to the car to get her strapped into her seat and we were close behind, having paid the bill. Once in her seat, she still wouldn't use the arm, and cried if it did move. All this crying that is not usual for my BG made my Mother-in-law decide we needed to have her checked out. Not knowing if the local urgent care could handle little ones or have the equipment needed, Pop headed to the local ER.
We had to wait a while before getting into triage which was fun with a child who screamed any time her arm moved, but still wanted to walk around and carry things with her other hand. We were sent to a special part of the waiting area from triage because all the rooms were full but they wanted to take x-rays, not knowing if it was a dislocated shoulder or what. The triage nurse did mention that one thing it could be is something with her elbow. I didn't think was it because BG would move her elbow a little but not her shoulder. It seemed that she cried when the shoulder moved but not always the elbow. We were taken back into the ER rooms and then shortly someone came to take us to x-ray, but on our way the doc showed up and said she wanted to check out BG before x-ray. She might not need them.
After examining BG for mere moments, my baby was fixed. As it turned out, it was her elbow. What exactly was it? Nursemaids elbow. Lamens terms: a partial dislocation of the elbow joint.
Apparently this can be fairly common in young children. Their bones are still forming and ligaments are loose. A tug or pull of the arm can cause the radius to slip from its position and become jammed in the ligament that surrounds it and holds it to the ulna.
Nursemaids elbow is easily fixed, but needs to be done by a medical professional. The doctor in the ER was able to quickly put things back into place and knew it was better when she felt the elbow pop into place. The pain that BG had and lack of movement were resolved within minutes of the doctor popping the bones back into place.
This can happen in children from 1-4 years of age. This means there are a few things you don't want to do with young kids as it could cause the elbow to dislocate.
- Swinging children by the arms, like while at play.
- Pulling a child up by the arms. Lift from under the armpits instead.
- Jerking a child's arm.
- A child breaking their fall with their arm could cause dislocation as well as
- Awkwardly rolling over (usually just in infants and very young children).
* Much of the information I learned of this topic came from the print outs we received from the hospital and from Wikipedia and KidsHealth.org.
Until next time... Happy Living it up with Kiddos!