Nursemaid’s Elbow (Pulled Elbow)

The nursemaid’s elbow is a condition where one of the forearm bones (radius) is dislocated from the region where it is articulated with the arm bone and the other forearm bone (ulna). The most common reason is that the person taking care of a child pulls the child from the hand or wrist to lift the child from the ground or to hold him/her when he/she is about to fall. That is why it is named in this way.

It is most commonly seen in children at the age of between 2 and 5. When that condition occurs, the child cannot move his/her elbow, keeps it bent and experiences a severe pain. In this case, when the child is brought to our clinic, the diagnosis is made through the examination of the child and the history of the event. Usually an x-ray examination is not required. The joint is normalized with a simple reduction maneuver, and the child can move his/her elbow actively due to the pain relief within 5-10 minutes. No splint, bandage or sling is needed after the reduction.

There is a risk for that event to be repeated due to the same reasons. Therefore, families should not hold the child by the wrist while lifting him/her from the ground and so on; they should lift him/her in a balanced way by gripping from the armpit. In the case of recurrence, it will be easily reduced again by the same method. The possibility of recurrence is low as the joint is fully developed after 5-6 years of age.