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Chiropractic Help for Elbow Dislocation

By Sara Butler

You probably don’t have Mary Poppins singing and dancing around your house as her perfectly perfect-in-every-way self, taking care of your kids. Yeah, the era of the Poppins-eque nursemaid are done, but one holdover from that era is a condition called “nursemaid’s elbow.” Nowadays this is often referred to as “toddler’s elbow” or just a good old-fashioned dislocation of the elbow. This is a pretty common condition that can be experienced by your toddler or preschooler. Here’s what is it, how it’s caused and how your chiropractor may be able to help!

What is Nursemaid’s Elbow?

Nursemaid’s elbow is a partial dislocation of the elbow joint. It occurs when a ligament near the elbow slips out of place. The fancy medical term for this condition is annular ligament displacement.

A common injury in early childhood, it strikes children between the ages of 1 and 4 quite frequently. The ligaments that hold their bones together are loose. When that is combined with bones that aren’t fully formed yet you get a perfect storm for an injury like this, which occurs from the arm being pulled.

If your child has nursemaid’s elbow, they will likely experience some pain in their arm initially but you shouldn’t be concerned about long-term damage. A medical professional such as your doctor or chiropractor can easily slip the joint back into proper alignment and resolve the issue.

As they get older, the ligaments will tighten and the bones will get larger, decreasing the risk of sustaining this injury.

What Causes Nursemaid’s Elbow

When the elbow joint is loose, then several things can cause the bone to slip out of its proper alignment. In some children, it doesn’t take much force at all for the joint to slip out of place. Other actions that can cause nursemaid’s elbow include:

  • Swinging a child by the arms – Holding the child by their hands or wrists and swinging them can put stress on the elbow causing it to dislocate.
  • Pulling a child up – If you grab your child’s hands to help them up or lift them by their hands or wrists then, you can cause this injury. That’s why it’s always best to pick them up under their armpits.
  • Jerking the arm – Sometimes a child can fall as you’re walking with them holding their hands. Any sudden jerk of the arm can cause this injury.
  • Falling down – If your child falls and breaks their fall with their arms it can cause a dislocation by overextending the elbow.
  • Rolling over – In infants and very young children, rolling over in bed, in their crib or on the floor can cause a dislocation.

Talk to Your Chiropractor

If you child has issues with nursemaid’s elbow, discuss it with your chiropractor during your next visit. They may be able to offer you some strategies to reduce the occurrence of nursemaid’s elbow and also help to put your mind at ease that your child’s elbows, and other joints, are healthy.

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