Elbow injuries are common, even in young children, and can often be very painful. If your child has elbow pain, Maguire & Early Orthopedics can help. Experienced pediatric orthopedic specialists Michael Maguire, MD, and Sean Early, MD, have offices in Santa Barbara and Pismo Beach, California, where they provide conservative and surgical treatments for elbow pain in adults and children. To take advantage of their expertise in relieving elbow pain, call Maguire & Early Orthopedics or book an appointment online today.
Common causes of elbow pain include:
Little leaguer's elbow (medial apophysitis) causes pain on the inner part of your child's elbow that can lead to the joint locking up. They might also have a restricted range of motion and be unable to throw a ball properly.
Osteochondritis dissecans (OCD) causes pain on the outside of your child's elbow. It occurs when cartilage and bone loosen, most likely as a result of repetitive strain from throwing a ball or similar activities.
Nursemaid's elbow (radial head subluxation) occurs when the child suffers a pulling injury that partially dislocates the joint. It's common in young children because it requires minimal force to pull the elbow bones apart at this stage in their development.
Several types of elbow fractures could affect your child. Fractures above the elbow (supracondylar) are breaks in the humerus (upper arm bone) that usually occur in children under 8 years old. They are the most common and also the most serious form of elbow fractures, as they can cause nerve damage and reduced circulation.
Other types of fractures include elbow knob (condylar) fractures, inside of the elbow tip (epicondylar) fractures, growth plate (physis) fractures, and forearm fractures at the top of the radius bone.
Your child is likely to feel intense and possibly severe discomfort radiating from the site of the injury. They may also have a noticeable loss of motion in the joint. You might be able to see a visible abnormality along with swelling, redness, or bruising, and if the child has a compound fracture, you can see the broken bone.
Your provider at Maguire & Early Orthopedics makes a preliminary diagnosis after examining your child thoroughly. To confirm a diagnosis and assess the damage, your child is likely to need X-rays and possibly an MRI scan.
The treatment your child needs for their elbow pain depends on the cause. For example, osteochondritis dissecans often heals with just rest in growing children, while a compound fracture may require surgery.
Some fractures and other injuries heal well with immobilization, which means wearing a cast or splint to keep the elbow in position and reduce stress while the tissues repair themselves. Severe fractures might involve surgical repair with pins to hold the bones in place. Other surgeries for elbow pain could include bone grafts or ligament reattachment.
For expert relief of your child's elbow pain, call Maguire & Early Orthopedics today or book an appointment online.