Friday, May 05, 2006

Nursemaid's Elbow

So what is this mystery malady that my children seem to suffer from?

It stated when Sarah was not even three. She was being her normal, squirmy self at the mall, swinging back and forth at a 45 degree angle as I held her hand waiting for Stef to come out of a store. Whe swung behind me and I lost my grip on her hand, and she fell. For the rest of the day, she pinned her elbow to her side and her forearm to her stomach, and wouldn't use it. We took her to the emergency room, and after a brief examination the nurse explained what had happened.

One of the bones in the forearm, the radius, sits in a tendon sheath near the elbow. Pulling on a young child's arm can pull the radius out of that sheath, making it painful to move the elbow. (I believe it's also called "radial head dislocation.") The nurse held Sarah's elbow in one hand, her wrist in the other, and slowly turned the wrist over from palm-down to palm-up. Pop. Sarah got a funny look on her face, the bone was back in place, and all was good. We self-treated this problem several times over the next couple years with Sarah.

Last night, when Lily hurt her arms, it was her wrist that she was complaining about. Sarah kept insisting that it was the same problem that she had had when she was younger, but I was unconvinced. Lily was putting up such a huge fuss over any attempt to touch her wrist that I figured the problem was there. Sarah barely made a fuss over her elbow when she experienced it; she didn't want to leave the play area at the mall, even though she was playing with her arm mashed against her waist. I thought for sure that Lily's wrist had broken.

When Stef called to tell us what the problem was, and that they were already on their way home, I told Sarah what happened. Her response, with a big smile, was, "Cool. Told ya."

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