Nursemaid’s Elbow or Radial Head Subluxation is a common physical
disorder affecting children in the age group of 1-7 years. The injury
is also known as Pulled Elbow and Toddler’s Elbow. As the bones
and joints of children are tender and still in a formative stage, there
is an increased likelihood of dislocations. The elbow joint is made up
of the upper arm bone, humerus, and two lower arm bones; ulna and radius.
These are held together by the ligaments, muscles and tendons. The elbow
further comprises into two joints:
Humeroulnar joint, where the humerus meets the ulna and enables the elbow to bend
Radiocapitellar joint, the meeting point of radius and humerus that enables the forearm to rotate
In Nursemaid’s Elbow, the radiocapitellar joint gets dislocated.
It is a temporary injury and may not lead to any long term damage to the
joint. As the child grows, the ligaments and muscles become stronger as
well as keep the joint stable, thereby, reducing the chances of suffering
- A sudden force to the child’s wrist or arm
- Yanking or swinging the child with the arm
- Lifting the child by holding his hands or arms
- Forcefully dragging a child by pulling his/her arm
- Loose ligaments
- Breaking a fall with an outstretched arm
- Rolling over in bed may lead to partial displacement of the bones
- Visible deformity in the form of a slightly bent arm
- Pain which may increase while moving the arm
- Inability to rotate the arm or palm
- The child may tend to hold his arm near the body and does not move it
- Clinical evaluation of the injured arm and the mode of injury
- The doctor may observe the way the child holds, moves or bends the arm
- X-ray imaging may be done to rule out fracture or damage to adjacent structures
Physical Reduction- The orthopedic doctor may manually push the bone back in place. This
procedure may cause some initial discomfort to the child but once the
position of the bone is restored, he may be able to move the arm easily.
Anti-inflammatory medicines may be prescribed to provide relief from pain and inflammation.
Wearing a sling for a few days may be recommended to keep the arm in a stable position
OrthoTexas, provide complete diagnosis and treatment for Nursemaid’s Elbow.
To schedule an appointment with our
elbow doctors in Plano, TX, you can call at
(972) 985 – 1072 or visit 4031 West Plano Parkway Suite 100, Plano, TX 75093.