swingingkid.jpgWe returned from our vacation on Saturday and hoped to spend a nice, relaxing Sunday before getting back to the real world. What happened instead was an afternoon spent at the ER.

We went to church in the morning and dropped off my 2-year-old at the nursery. After the sermon, we went to pick her up and arrived to a screaming baby and a very concerned childcare person. The minute I looked at her and the way she was holding her arm, I knew it was nursemaid’s elbow.

Nursemaid’s elbow, a name that sounds pleasant compared to the excrusciating pain it causes, is a partial dislocation of the radius bone in the arm. It can happen when you swing a child by his arms or you grab her arm to catch a fall. It is common for children under 4 to get it, because the ligaments are loose and bones are not yet fully formed. The good news is that is is very easy to pop back in and the pain is gone as soon as it is corrected. The bad news is, if your child gets nursemaid’s elbow, they will most likely get it again.

This was the second time it happened. Two months ago, I grabbed her arm to catch a fall and she immediately started screaming and holding it at her side. She wouldn’t move it and was in serious pain. Feeling like an abusive mother, I rushed her to her pediatrician’s office. Dr. Jacqueline Owens, one of the doctors in the practice, explained this common problem and made me feel a bit better about the damage I had done. She distracted a screaming baby and easily popped it back into place. Immediately, my little one said, ‘Much better” and gave Dr. Owens a high-five.
The nurses and doctors at Mountainside Hospital’s ER were just as wonderful. Although, because it was a hospital and we didn’t see exactly how it happened this time, they needed to do x-rays first. As soon as they confirmed it wasn’t a break, the physician’s assistant simply rotated her arm, bent it and popped it back into place. “Much better” were the first words out of pur daughter’s mouth and she started giving high-fives and hugs to all involved.

We have to be really careful to avoid lifting her or swinging her by her arms. It will happen again. Heck, it can even happen if she falls or rolls on her arm the wrong way. Our doctor said she would teach us how to correct it if it pops out again and we knew for certain that it was nursemaid’s elbow and not a break. At first, I couldn’t imagine doing it, but after seeing it done twice now, I think I could probably avoid the ER or doctors visit.

Are you part of the nursemaid’s elbow club?

(Photo by billaday)