Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Dislocated Arm - Every Mom Should Read This

Last Monday evening we had a bit of a crisis at our house.  I went to the grocery store, and came home to find Jon and Adeline playing in the front yard.  We started taking groceries in and Adeline wouldn't follow us in to the house.  Jon switched all his groceries onto one arm & grabbed her hand with his free hand.  She then proceeded to try to throw herself onto the ground to have a fit.  Jon didn't want her busting her head, so he tried to stand her back up on her feet by pulling her arm from the hand he was holding.  Big mistake, but haven't we all done that?  I was already inside & Jon comes rushing in with a screaming Adeline telling me he pulled her shoulder out of socket.  I say, "I doubt that.  Here, Adeline, can you get Ace?" as I hold Ace alluringly above her head.  She tries to lift her arm and cries even more hysterically.  I then freak out and say, "Oh my gosh, you really did pull her arm out!"  He quickly administers ibuprofen while I'm on the phone calling all 2 doctors I have in my phone....neither answer.  Jon says, "What about that trick my mom told you about?"  I yell over Adeline's crying, "That won't work.  It's only for elbows.  We have to get to the hospital!"  I assume that he's gathering things to go to the hospital while I'm quickly throwing all the cold stuff in the fridge or freezer (I'm not about to let $100 worth of groceries spoil.  I know, world's worst mom.)  Then from behind me he says, "Here, talk to mom."  So I take the phone from him and she tells me she thinks the trick is for a shoulder, so I decide to try it anyway.  

I do the trick & then hear & feel a pop and Adeline almost immediately stops crying.  This is the first time I've touched her since the incident.  I never felt her shoulder to see if it was really dislocated because I was panicking and calling doctors and putting groceries away.  We decide to go ahead and go to the hospital anyway.  We get to the hospital & the ER is packed.  I ask the guy at the window a question and he ignores me.  At this time Adeline is laughing & talking and it's dinner time and we're all hungry.  We decide to leave and go out to eat instead (I know...cast judgment).

I figure she's fine and I'll just take her to the pediatrician in the morning.  The next day I have to go in to work and I start calling the doctor's office as soon as possible.  When I finally get through to the receptionist and tell her why I'm making an appointment she freaks out on me.  "Wait, what happened?  How did that happen?  You put it back in place yourself?  Let me talk to a nurse."  Then she comes back on and says, "Go ahead & bring her in, but we'll probably have to refer you to an orthopedist."  Are you kidding me?  She's fine.  Hasn't complained once since I did the trick.  So now I'm all freaking out thinking DHS or cops are going to be waiting on me when I get to the pediatrician.  I was wrong.  The receptionist apologized for freaking out.  The doctor tells me she thinks it was her elbow that was dislocated and that it's very common in children under the age of 3.  She says she sees at least one a week!  That makes me feel much better.  She said I did the right thing and that sometimes if it's left untreated for too long, the joint can get so swollen that they can't relocate it until they've treated the swelling first.  She called it nursemaid's elbow.

I feel like since I'm an OT I should have at least heard of this before, but I haven't.  I also feel like I should have been able to fix it immediately rather than panic & exhaust my speed-dialed doctors in my phone, but I didn't.  However, now I know and I wanted all of you to know as well.  It's super easy to fix and don't beat yourself or your husband up if it happens to your child.  :)

So here's how you do THE TRICK:

1) First, extend their arm all the way out with palm supinated (turned up toward ceiling).
 2) Then, continue holding at the elbow & hand and bend their arm up toward their shoulder.

That's it.  Now you know how to fix a nursemaid's elbow.  Easy Peasy!

I'm kind of glad it happened because while I was at the doctor last Tuesday she found that Adeline's ear infection had not healed itself and we started another antibiotic.  Now everyone in my house is well and all our joints are in their proper places.  Praise Jesus!


  1. Wow, that's good to know! Thanks!!

  2. Way to go Linz!
    I know that nearly broke Jon's heart but like you said it's a wonder we all haven't done that at some time or another.
    Love you all!

  3. awww! poor thing! Did you remember that Roman had a cast on his arm for 5 days because he had a tiny crack in his bone! AND I didnt even do it. He fell when he was learning to walk when he moved to the couch from his toy walker. It was a VERY simple normal fall too, but he hurt himself, and I am convinced its the reason he walked when he did bc it hurt too much to crawl and was odd with the cast on. I would be scared to try to fix anything out of socket!!!

  4. Oh geez, good job fixing it! I'll have to remember this!