My four year old daughter had her first dance recital this week. After a lifetime of being on the sidelines for her brothers’ soccer, basketball and baseball games, this little girl was so thrilled to finally have her time in the spotlight! But just as it was time to start getting her ready for her big event, the drama happened…
I reached out and grabbed my daughter’s hand so we could start to change her clothes. Being the stinker that she can sometimes be, she decided to pulled away just as I pulled her toward me. Suddenly, I felt a little pop in her wrist. We both froze and looked at each other. I was pretty sure I knew what had happened but waited to see her response. Then the tears and crying started and I knew she had nursemaid’s elbow.
Nursemaid’s elbow is a partial dislocation of the radiocapitellar joint of the elbow and most often occurs in children ages 1-4. Because their ligaments are not fully formed, it takes very little force to shift or dislocate this joint. It can happen just by pulling on their hand to help them up a curb or by swinging them around in circles. Thus, this is a very common injury in young children. In fact, this is the 4th time it has happened to my daughter! (My children and their injuries!)
Thankfully, nursemaid’s elbow is not a difficult injury to fix. A doctor or healthcare provider can gently move the bones back into their original place by doing what is called a reduction procedure. We made a trip to urgent care the first time this happened and I was amazed how quickly she was healed and then back to her normal self. Her second incident of nursemaid’s elbow happened while I was at my oldest son’s basketball game a couple of years ago. His coach just happened to be an ER doctor so at half time, I ran down to the sidelines and less than 10 seconds later, he had done the reduction maneuver and she started to calm back down. The coach then showed me how to do the maneuver in case it happened again. Man am I grateful he did!
About two months later it happened again. Despite my daughter’s wailing and resistance, I performed the maneuver and felt it pop back into place! I had done it!
We had less than an hour before she needed to be at her recital when she hurt herself this week. Not only had it been over a year since her last bout of nursemaid’s elbow, but this time it seemed to be more in her wrist than her elbow. I was definitely a little low on confidence as I prepared to do the reduction maneuver, so I quickly refreshed my memory with a short You Tube video. Then I told my daughter the plan. With her sweet teary voice she said. “Mom, are you sure this will work?”
I told her I didn’t know for sure but hoped it would and then gently brought her elbow into a full extension. She was crying pretty hard but I did my best to stay calm as I placed my finger on the top of her radius bone and began to flex her elbow. A second later I felt a pop! I told her it worked and I could tell she felt it too, even though she still felt some pain.
Trying to ignore the minutes ticking past, I cuddled her on the couch while she drank some milk (her ultimate comfort drink). About 10 minutes later she had regained her composure, I finished getting her ready and it was off to the recital.
It was SO much fun watching my little girl dance her heart out on the big stage. I’m hoping not all of her big life moments are preceded with so much drama! 😜