Patient Information Resources

Alpine Physical Therapy
Three Locations
In North, South, and Downtown Missoula
Missoula, MT 59804
Ph: 406-251-2323
Fax: 406-251-2999

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I heard of a case of a child who had severe nerve problems in his arm after he dislocated his elbow. This wasn't seen until a few weeks after the accident and then it wasn't dealt with for several more weeks. How could the doctors not tell right away and why would they wait?

When a child (or adult) dislocates his elbow, there is always the possibility that one of the nerves that travels through the elbow gets trapped in a position it isn't normally. However, this can't be seen on an x-ray or any of the usual tests done with a suspected dislocated elbow. It is only during follow up that doctors may see some signs that there is a nerve entrapment and it may not be very clear at first. If they suspect the nerve has been trapped, they may opt to wait a short while to see if the problem will resolve itself on its own. If it doesn't, then they may step in and work on the problem - usually through surgery.


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