What to Do with a ‘Nursemaid’s Elbow’

When walking with children, our tendency is to grab their small hands or wrists, and swing their arms back and forth. But did you know that this sweeping motion can be too dangerous if we put on a lot of pressure?

This can cause an injury called a “nursemaid’s elbow,” a condition in which a ligament has slipped out of place and is caught between the bones of the elbow joint. With nursemaid’s elbow, even a small amount of pressure is enough to cause an injury.

This condition happens to children between 1 to 4 years old. It is more prevalent to girls than boys, and frequently happens more to the left arm than the right.  At this early stage, children’s ligaments are still loose, fragile, and yet to develop, which makes their elbows easy to fall out of place. Instances such as pulling a child up by the hands, jerking an arm too forcefully, or swinging a child’s arms can lead to injury.

Signs and Symptoms of Nursemaid’s Elbow

A nursemaid’s elbow injury is not so obvious because there are no signs of bruising or swelling from the outside. But you can tell your child has one if he or she does not use an arm and keeps it in a straight position.

Although it can be painful, a nursemaid’s elbow is a temporary condition without permanent damage to a child’s body. Severe pain means there could be a broken bone involved, in which case a San Diego pediatric orthodontist will need to be consulted. A doctor will prescribe a pain reliever and will do a “reduction” maneuver to put the elbow back into place. An x-ray only becomes necessary if the doctor suspects fracture.

To prevent a nursemaid’s elbow injury in the future, you should be more gentle and careful with your child, and advice other caregivers to do the same.

Treatment and Prevention of ACL Injuries

So many parents are extremely proud when their children get into sports. But that feeling of accomplishment can easily be replaced by a sense of dread once they see their children get injured while out on the playing field.

If you have a kid who likes to play a lot of sports, then you need to become familiar with the most common injuries that children get while playing. One such thing is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury. The ACL injury is a serious injury because it involves the ligament that gives the knee its stability, and will need to be looked at by a San Diego orthopedic doctor.

How an ACL Injury Happens

Most ACL injuries happen in sports that involve sudden movements and abrupt changes in direction. These include basketball, soccer, football, tennis, and volleyball. Once a child jumps and makes a hard landing, he or she may land stiff-legged and off-balance. If the weight is not evenly distributed on both legs and the quadricep muscles are not stable enough, the sudden movement will put a lot of pressure on the knee joint and will cause the ACL to tear up.

How to Prevent an ACL Injury

ACL injuries account for more than 50% of all knee-related injuries. Treatment usually requires surgery and long-term rehabilitation. To prevent an ACL injury, the parents and coach need to work together to ensure that the young athlete does not skip warm-ups and cool downs, drinks enough liquid, and uses the proper equipment.

Some children will insist on playing even when already injured, which is why you should instinctively know when your child is in pain, even if he or she is not telling you. Simple sports injuries that have been left untreated for too long may turn into major complications and lifelong problems.

If you suspect that your child has an ACL injury, then please visit us right away for immediate assistance.

Why Sports Specialization Should Not Be Implemented This Early

Some parents make the mistake of encouraging their children to take up a specific sport at such an early age. They send their child to various sports clinics and athletic development programs, and hire the best private coach to ensure their child’s success. Unfortunately, this practice may do more harm than good for the child.

An intense, laser-like focus on one sports can cause injury and put a lot of pressure on the child, causing him or her to lose interest early on. To prevent sports injury, burnout, and social isolation, make sure to do the following:

Encourage the child to diversify.

Even if the child is showing a lot of promise and is performing really well at one discipline, encourage him or her to play in other sports that do not utilize the same repetitive movement as their chosen sport.

If your kid is a member of the football or basketball team, encourage him or her to go swimming, hiking, or biking. The variety prevents them from losing interest quickly or dropping out entirely from sports. These activities provide plenty of opportunity for kids to just be kids and to goof around, instead of being serious and competitive all the time.

Think about your reasons.

Why do you want your child to specialize in sports? Is it for your child’s success in college? Is it for their sake, or for your sake? Considering the huge number of youth athletes, the odds of “making it” to college and professional sports are small, so be realistic and make sure you know where your kid’s potential stands.

This is the moment when you need to listen to your child. What is it that they want to do? What activity brings them the most joy?

Keep an eye out on your child’s health.

Sports specialization can lead to overuse injuries. When children participate in only one sport, they repeatedly stress the same group of muscles, tendons, joints, and bones. These injuries can lead to a consultation with a San Diego pediatric orthopedic surgeon.

It would be best for your child to undergo sports specialization during late adolescence. By that time, your child has realized their full potential and would know what it is they really want.

How to Deal with Kids’ Heel Pain

Is your child complaining of a sharp pain in the heels and a tightening of the calves? Do you see your child limping or walking in tip-toes? Most parents at the receiving end of this type of complaint will attribute them to overexertion, but is actually due to a growth spurt.

As a pediatric orthodontist, I have encountered the same problems before in other children. If the child experiencing heel pain plays a lot of sports that require a lot of running around in hard surfaces, this could be due to the growth of a heel that has been stretched too tight. This is called Sever’s disease, which is the inflammation at the back of the heel bone.

Why It Happens

Sever’s disease is the result of a heel bone that is still in the process of developing. A new bone is forming at the growth plate located at the back of the heel. Too much pressure on this body part triggers the pain and inflammation.

A child’s heel is not fully developed until he or she reaches 14 years of age, which is why Sever’s disease typically affects children aged 8 to 14. It often goes undiagnosed, and is more common among boys than in girls.

This usually goes away on its own within the next couple of weeks or months once the growth plate begins to close. For the meantime, you can give your child painkillers like ibuprofen to deal with the pain. Stretching exercises and massages on the heels, calves, and hamstring will help, as well as ice or cold compress. You can also buy the kid new shoes, preferably one with a well-cushioned sole that provides good arch support.

However, if the problem continues to persist in 3 to 4 months, this may indicate a more serious condition that needs to be looked at by a Los Angeles pediatric orthodontist. If this is the case, then please call or visit our clinic to have your child’s heels looked at by a medical professional.