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Kiddie Wellness: Nursemaid Elbow


Who doesn't love being swept off their feet? While lil ones adore the ride that ensues when adults swing them, it's best to leave tots on the ground. Swooping wee ones up while holding their hands can cause their elbow bones to be pulled partially out of joint, a condition known as Nursemaid Elbow. According to WebMD, this is common in small children. It said:

  • A temporary condition without permanent effects, it can be quite frightening to parents who find their child lacking the ability to use his or her upper arm.
  • Specifically, a portion of soft tissue, whose function is to hold bones together, is pulled between 2 areas of the bones that make up the elbow joint. The involved bony areas are the radial neck and head of the radius bone in the forearm and the capitellum portion of the humerus, or upper arm bone. Movement of the elbow in this condition results in pain and keeps the child from using the upper arm.
  • Typically, this type of injury occurs in children aged 1-4 years but has occurred in infants aged 6-12 months as well. As children grow, their bones become larger and more defined. So this injury is rarely seen in children older than 6 years.

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