Dislocated Wrist in Children: Care Instructions

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Your child's wrist can be forced out of its normal position (dislocated) if your child falls on it hard. This can happen in an accident or when playing sports.

When the wrist is dislocated, bones, ligaments, tendons, and nerves can be damaged. Your child may need more treatment.

The doctor put your child's wrist back in its normal position and may have put it in a cast or splint. This will help keep your child's wrist stable until your follow-up appointment.

Your child may need surgery because a dislocated wrist is usually also broken.

It may take weeks or months for the wrist to heal, depending on how bad the injury is.

The doctor has checked your child carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Put ice or a cold pack on your child's wrist for 10 to 20 minutes at a time. Try to do this every 1 to 2 hours for the next 3 days (when your child is awake). Put a thin cloth between the ice and your child's cast or splint. Keep the cast or splint dry.
  • Follow your doctor's directions for wearing a splint or cast.
  • Give pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask the doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Prop up the wrist on pillows when your child sits or lies down in the first few days after the injury. Keep the wrist higher than the level of your child's heart. This will help reduce swelling.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has new or worse pain.
  • Your child's hand or fingers are cool or pale or change color.
  • Your child's cast or splint feels too tight.
  • Your child has tingling, weakness, or numbness in the hand and fingers.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child has problems with the cast or splint.
  • Your child does not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.