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Nursemaid Elbow

Nursemaid Elbow

Call your doctor immediately after the injury. If your doctor feels comfortable seeing you in the office and can get you in right away, putting the bones back in place (this is called reduction) can be performed in the office very quickly.

If you are unable to get an appointment or cannot be seen in the doctor’s office for any other reason, go to the hospital’s emergency department for evaluation and corrective actions.

  • Any trauma other than a simple pulling on the hand or forearm might require further evaluation or x-rays done in the hospital.
  • If you notice a deformity, large swelling or bruising, or anything else concerning to you, report to the emergency department for evaluation of your child.
Self-Care at Home

The application of a cool, moist towel or small bag of ice wrapped in a towel may be helpful in any type of acute injury.Acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain can also be given. The most important action should be to seek appropriate medical attention.

Follow-up

Should initial reduction attempts be unsuccessful and a splint be required, follow-up should be done in 24-48 hours.

  • If the child continues to have any loss of function to the affected arm, bruising, deformities, or other unexpected or unusual findings, a re-evaluation is in order.

Should your child be experiencing this condition time after time, the doctor may put the arm in a cast to keep it immobile and discuss surgery Should your child be experiencing this condition time after time, the doctor may put the arm in a cast to keep it immobile and discuss surgery

Prevention

Avoid any sudden jerking to the hand or forearm of any small child to prevent this injury. This is even truer in the child who has already experienced a nursemaid elbow.

Outlook

The condition poses no long-term problems, but it can happen again easily

The condition can reoccur with pulling forces at a later time. In the past, it was felt that this may occur in 5% of children, but recent data suggest that it may occur in slightly over 20% of children. The injury occurs more frequently in children younger than 2 years.

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