Elastic bands on the wrist: a not so "silly" complication

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2011 May;27(5):428-9. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e318217b5a7.


The recent popularity of elastic bands on the wrist may put children at risk for acute compartment syndrome. Acute compartment syndrome is a limb-threatening condition characterized by elevated interstitial pressure in a confined fascial compartment. If left untreated, it may result in tissue necrosis, irreversible nerve and muscle injury, and permanent functional impairment. We report a case of a 2½-year-old girl with history of a rubber band around her wrist, who presented to the emergency department with a swollen, blue hand suggestive of an impending compartment syndrome. Although this patient ultimately was not diagnosed with acute compartment syndrome, we discuss the importance of prevention, early diagnosis, and prompt treatment of compartment syndrome to prevent permanent disability.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Child, Preschool
  • Compartment Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Compartment Syndromes / etiology*
  • Compression Bandages / adverse effects*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Wrist*