|Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If|
- Serious injury with multiple fractures
- Major bleeding that can't be stopped
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
- You think your child has a serious injury
- Looks like a broken bone or dislocated joint
- Swollen elbow or any large swelling
- Skin beyond the injury is pale or blue
- Skin is split open or gaping and may need stitches
- Age under 1 year old
- Bicycle spoke or washing machine wringer injury
- Pain is SEVERE (and not improved after 2 hours of pain medicine)
- Unable to move arm or shoulder normally (especially if someone pulled on the arm)
- Young child and cries when you try to move the shoulder (collarbone fracture suspected)
- Joint nearest the injury can't be moved fully (opened and closed)
- You think your child needs to be seen urgently
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
- You think your child needs to be seen, but not urgently
- Pain not improved after 3 days
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
- You have other questions or concerns
- Pain lasts over 2 weeks
|Parent Care at Home If|
- Bruised muscle or bone from direct blow
- Pain in muscle (probably from mild pulled muscle)
- Pain around joint (probably from mild stretched ligament)
HOME CARE ADVICE FOR MINOR ARM INJURIES
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
- Reassurance: Bruised muscles or bones can be treated at home.
- Pain Medicine: For pain relief, give acetaminophen OR ibuprofen as needed. (See Dosage Table). Ibuprofen is more effective for this type of pain.
- Local Cold: For bruises or swelling, apply a cold pack or ice bag wrapped in a wet cloth to the area for 20 minutes per hour. Repeat for 4 consecutive hours. (Reason: reduce the bleeding and pain)
- Local Heat: After 48 hours, apply a warm wet washcloth or heating pad for 10 minutes 3 times per day to help absorb the blood.
- Rest the injured part as much as possible for 48 hours.
- For pulled muscles, teach your youngster about stretching exercises and strength training.
- Expected Course: Pain and swelling usually peak on day 2 or 3. Swelling is usually gone by 7 days. Pain may take 2 weeks to completely resolve.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Pain becomes severe
- Pain is not improving after 3 days
- Pain lasts over 2 weeks
- Your child becomes worse
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 9/15/2011
Last Revised: 8/1/2011
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.