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Broken arm tips
5 year old broke elbow

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#1 .Jerry.

Posted 21 February 2011 - 04:39 PM

Any tips for helping a 5 year old for coping with a break?
Molly has a supracondylar fracture of her left elbow.  Lucikly there was only slight displacement.  SHe only has a collar and cuff sling, but she is over it already!  The sling seems to hurt her (or is just very uncomfy) and she just doesn't seem to understand that she can't take it off or use her arm.
The panadol and nurofen kicked in well, so the pain isn't too bad, just the discomfort and annoyance. sad.gif
Hard to imagine how she'll cope with five weeks of this!

I guess that rules out her gymnastics and dancing for a while...... as well as swimming.....

#2 tothebeach

Posted 21 February 2011 - 04:47 PM

DS had a broken arm when he was 4.  It's amazing how quickly they adapt.  He was even riding his bike one armed.

#3 tinkster23

Posted 21 February 2011 - 05:07 PM

awww poor molly pop!

Its hard when they just have a sling, at least with a cast its a big heavy reminder for them

The sling won't be so uncomfortable after a few days.

#4 LittleMissPink

Posted 21 February 2011 - 05:47 PM

Is there any chance she can get a waterproof cast put on? At least then you know shes not likely to use the joint while it heals.

#5 Soontobegran

Posted 21 February 2011 - 05:55 PM

It is amazing how quickly they forget that the sling is there original.gif
Once the pain is settled the 5 weeks will go very quickly and be guided by her as to how much activity she does. If it hurts she won't do it so there is little chance of her doing any damage whilst it heals.
Good luck to little Molly

ETA- Swimming will be fine as long as she is just in the water and not using her arm to stroke. You could buy a couple of disposable slings and make a collar and cuff for her to use in the pool.

Edited by soontobegran, 21 February 2011 - 05:56 PM.

#6 .Jerry.

Posted 21 February 2011 - 06:47 PM

Thanks original.gif

LittleMissPink - She doesn't get a cast for this kind of break.  Just needs to keep the elbow bent at less than 90 degrees.  that's why the collar and cuff sling.  Apparently the tendons etc bent at that angle keep the bones in the right places.

soontobegran - The Orthopedist told me to keep this particular collar/cuff sling on.  I'd like to have a go at taking it off and putting a new one on though.  Would help if she could cool off in the pool.

She says the collar and cuff is uncomfortable.  Sure looks it.
We go back to the fracture clinic in 10 days.

#7 ms.g

Posted 21 February 2011 - 10:36 PM

Oh I had a similar break about a year ago! I WISHED for a cast for a while. That sling was so bloody uncomfortable! I ended up getting an adjustable fabric one from the pharmacy and pinning the straps shorter so my arm was supported at the right angle. The collar and cuff one was HORRIBLE and I wore it all of two days. I tried all sorts of slings for a while. THe triangluar folded ones were shocking. The collar and cuff was just so incredibly uncomfortable. I ended up with this one:

I used to pin it at the right angle, but soon got used to it. I also clipped a part of the kids' carseat around the neck bit. You know the little baby strap cover? I clipped that over the strap where it rested against my neck. This bit:

It was just enough to stop thestrap from cutting into my neck.

BTW, my break healed VERY well, but it took about 9 months of physio to correct the muscle damage from not stretching my arm out from that acute angle. It was about just as painful as the break to be honest. Thank goodness my injury was at school and workcover paid for all the physio! Oh and the original injury hurt like hell for about a week or so. Mega painkillers actually did bugger all and I stopped taking them as they made no difference. I hope Molly is not in as much pain as I was. sad.gif It took a good 6 or 7 days to go... sad.gif

Hope to help,

#8 morgansacre

Posted 22 February 2011 - 11:22 AM

When my DD, aged 5, broke her elbow she had it in a sling, but was good at not using it. Though she couldn't as it was very swollen. She was right handed, broke the right arm, so she had to compensate with her left.....

Unfortunately this led to her continually using her left hand and she is now left handed. She had to go for lots of physio after, but they couldn't get her to change back. No one can tell me why she just changed hands, or why she didn't go back to what she was.....they say they have never heard of it.

But now at 21 she is still left handed, though a lot neater at writing than she was for years before.


#9 Rock of Empathy

Posted 22 February 2011 - 02:16 PM

My eldest has had a supracondylar fracture in his left elbow twice now.  rolleyes.gif

The first time he had to have surgery to wire his elbow back together and required a cast. The second time he just had the collar & cuff and it was a complete PITA for the first week or so.

The hardest part in the early days was changing clothes. It was a 2-man job. After a little while he could hold his arm where it needed to be and it became much easier. For the first few changes we tried to do it while he had panadol on board to minimise the pain.

My only other tip would be to use pillows to prop her arm while she is sleeping because if her arm slips, it will be uncomfortable.

She will heal incredibly quickly and in a few days be doing all sorts of things you probably think she shouldn't be with that arm.  wink.gif Good luck!

#10 Sassenach2

Posted 22 February 2011 - 05:01 PM

Could you take her to a physiotherapist and ask him/her to have a look at the sling and see if there is anything else she could wear for a supracondyle fracture, as the cuff sling is so annoying and having to keep it on for weeks is no fun and the fracture clinic won't be seeing your DD for 10 days. I am sure they would come up with something else.

#11 miinii

Posted 22 February 2011 - 05:08 PM

oh i have no advise but your poor DD sad.gif how painful that must have been:(

#12 vonnegutesque

Posted 22 February 2011 - 06:19 PM

Poor Molly sad.gif

My 4 yo fractured her elbow in 3 places a couple of years ago, and hated the collar and cuff at first too. She had forgotten about it by the next day though (and completely forgot about her elbow as well and kept bumping it into things  huh.gif ).  She will get used to it in a few days most likely.

Hers also came off after two weeks when she could extend her arm without a lot of pain, so hopefully you won't have to wait the whole 5 weeks.

#13 Soontobegran

Posted 22 February 2011 - 06:32 PM

QUOTE (-Jerry- @ 21/02/2011, 07:47 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks original.gif

LittleMissPink - She doesn't get a cast for this kind of break.  Just needs to keep the elbow bent at less than 90 degrees.  that's why the collar and cuff sling.  Apparently the tendons etc bent at that angle keep the bones in the right places.

soontobegran - The Orthopedist told me to keep this particular collar/cuff sling on.  I'd like to have a go at taking it off and putting a new one on though.  Would help if she could cool off in the pool.

She says the collar and cuff is uncomfortable.  Sure looks it.
We go back to the fracture clinic in 10 days.

Can you descibe the sling Jerry?
Is it made of foam rubber with cloth over it or have they just rolled up a normal sling?
There are some comfy types of collar and cuff which you can buy at pharmacies but it is important that it is a collar and cuff, not like the normal sling in the photo in the previous post as the arm must hang and not be cradled within the sling.
If she wants to cool off I would slip the temporary one on first and then take the original one off and vice versa when she has cooled down.
If you google collar and cuff there is a page with examples of different types available (sorry, I tried to cut and paste but it didn't work)

#14 mumto4boys

Posted 22 February 2011 - 06:34 PM

Oh, poor Molly sad.gif

No advice but I just wanted to say that I hope she heals quickly.

BTW - when DS2 did this he broke both elbows at once. It was not a fun time.

On the plus side, he did learn to play nintendo with his toes rolleyes.gif

#15 eachschoolholidays

Posted 22 February 2011 - 06:43 PM

I broke my elbow at work too!  I ended up with months and months of physio too so I would definitely make sure you take her to a physio very early on.  I kept assuming that mine would get better and it didn't.  18 months on and it still doesn't completely straighten, so be more vigilant than I was!!  Good luck!

#16 rolla_coupe

Posted 22 February 2011 - 06:45 PM

My DD2 has a radel head fracture at the minute she has a back slab at the moment and hopefully after next week she will have a collar and cuff sling but by the sounds of it, it is going to be more annoying then not.

#17 .Jerry.

Posted 22 February 2011 - 07:35 PM

Thanks everyone for the information! original.gif

soontobegran - her sling is made from a long piece of ribbed foam which is covered in a velour-type cover.  The doctor just cut a length from a roll to fashion the sling.  He tied it together with cable ties (!) and medical tape. laughing2.gif  Here is a picture of the type of getup she has on (without the cable ties):  picture

She seems fairly comfortable this afternoon, but still asks for it off regularly.  Hopefully we won't need the full five weeks!  That gives me hope Cara! original.gif
mumto4boys -  ohmy.gif  at two broken at once!!!!!

I might investigate a physio - both to help her cope with the sling and to help her recover.

We go to fracture clinic early next week, so hopefully it is all healing well.

#18 Shellby

Posted 22 February 2011 - 08:10 PM

Ben broke his elbow at 5 also - they placed a back slab on him so he wouldn't be temped to bend it - I then made a sling out of fabric for him so I could wash it daily - as they get really dirty. After 4 weeks he went to the collar and cuff your daughter has - sadly unlike the back slab and sling, I couldn't get him to keep it on - he found it really uncomfortable. Lucky the dr was okay about it, he said at about 5 and under they heal quite fast - easily before 5 weeks and will only bend it as far till it hurts so allows them to slowly use it over time and you will find she won't need physio once it has healed. Its just the first 4 weeks that are a pain - so I would really see if you can do a back slab so at least it will have something to hold it and stop her bending it.

#19 Rock of Empathy

Posted 23 February 2011 - 01:02 PM

Careful of the physio.

DS's orthopedic surgeon said to stay away from them as in kids sometimes they can cause more harm than good. Kids will automatically use their arm and really don't require any extra exercises (in normal circumstances).

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