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What are Children Lifting Injuries?

The continual lifting, carrying, and reaching involved in the mechanics of lifting babies, toddlers, and their equipment can result in strains and sprains to the arms. The damage to muscles, tendons, joints, and nerves is caused by a single or repetitive movements, or compression of specific parts of the body are often sustained by improper body mechanics or awkward body positions.

Types of Children Lifting Injuries

While these injuries are commonly linked to sports or recreational activity, the physical rigors of parenthood can lead to similar injuries. These injuries often result from continuous wear and tear.

Injuries and their common names may include:

  • Tendonitis, including Mommy’s Thumb, joint sprains, and muscle strains
  • Neuritis
  • Tennis, and Golfer’s Elbow

Characteristics and Clinical Presentation of Children Lifting Injuries

Clinical presentation of child lifting injuries is similar to injuries sustained while engaging in recreational sports. This is due to movements that cause stress, stiffness, and inflammation in specific regions of the body over time.

Common symptoms of children lifting injuries include:

  • Inner or outer elbow pain
  • Forearm pain
  • Wrist pain
  • Pain while shaking hands
  • Limited range of motion
  • Weakened grip
  • Numbness or tingling

Causes of Children Lifting Injuries

Injuries sustained while lifting children during everyday activities is the result of poor posture and body mechanics while performing everyday routines that may cause acute or repetitive strain injuries.

These activities include:

  • Lifting a child from the crib and car seat.
  • Lifting a child from the floor.
  • Carrying a child.
  • Carrying and maneuvering with child safety gear. Narrow straps and bag handles can irritate forearm and wrist nerves. Prolonged acutely flexed elbows my irritate the ulnar nerve (funny bone) and create numbness or tingling from the elbow to the fingers.

Getting a Diagnosis for Children Lifting Injuries

Most child lifting injuries are diagnosed by listening to the parents. And during the physical exam observing a limited range of motion, pain, or tenderness. X-rays and MRIs may be ordered if disorders of the hand, wrist, or elbow require more information to diagnose.  

Treatment Options for Children Lifting Injuries

Rest your arm when experiencing discomfort and avoid strenuous activity until you learn more about your problem and its care with your surgeon. The R.I.C.E method is also helpful:

  • Rest: avoid using your arm as much as feasible while it is healing.
  • Ice: use an ice pack for 15-20 minutes a day.
  • Compression: compression bandages can help reduce swelling when prudently applied. With neuritis avoid compression.
  • Elevation: keep affected region above your heart to reduce swelling.

Conservative Treatments

Typically, child lifting injuries can be treated with rest, not using the elbow, or with gentle physical therapy. Splints or slings may be recommended to rest the arm until the injury is resolved.

In some cases, NSAIDs or a corticosteroid injection into inflamed regions may provide immediate pain relief. Modifications to body mechanics while lifting children may also be beneficial.

Surgical Treatments

Surgery is not typically required to treat child lifting injuries. However, in the event that surgical intervention is required, torn or damaged ligaments can be operated on to relieve pain and restore mobility and range of motion. Such cases involve  wrist tendonitis, and sometimes preexisting conditions, aggravated by the additional demands of parenthood.

Preventing an Injury while Children Lifting

The following tips for maintaining good posture while engaging in repetitive daily activities with children can prevent strain injuries:

  • Lifting a child from the crib: Don’t hold the child away from your body while reaching for them. Lower the crib railing and bring your child close to your body while lifting with your legs.
  • Lifting a child from the floor: With your back straight, grab your child with both arms while holding them close to your body, lifting with your hips and legs.
  • Carrying a child: Don’t hold the child with one arm, balanced on the hip. Instead, hold them close to your chest with their legs wrapped around your waist.
  • Carrying and maneuvering with child safety gear: Avoid carrying items like a car seat like a handbag. Instead, carry the seat by the handle with both hands, elbows bent, in front of your body. Palm forward on the handle if one-handed carry is required.

Prognosis for Children Lifting Injuries

Parents generally return to normal activity quickly with proper care.  Surgical options may include splinting followed by physical therapy.

Night time splinting may be useful. Modifications to body mechanics can help prevent future injuries while lifting children.

If You Believe You Have Children Lifting Injury Contact HandSport Surgery Institute

Please contact us to schedule an appointment with our talented orthopedic hand surgeon team. People experiencing injuries from lifting children should be evaluated to try and prevent further injury and mobility issues.

If you feel discomfort not resolving on its own, it’s important to be evaluated by a highly skilled professional. Call Drs. Mark and Jason Pruzansky at 212-249-8700 to schedule an appointment, obtain an accurate diagnosis, and start to restore comfort to your hand.

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