Nursemaid’s Elbow

What is a pulled elbow (nursemaid’s elbow)?
This is a problem where the bones at the elbow become misaligned.
What causes nursemaid’s elbow?
If there is a sudden pulling upon your child’s arm, such as when your child steps down from a curb while holding your hand.  If the child is pulled or swung by one or both arms, the bones of the elbow become misaligned.  When the pulling is released, the bones go back to their proper alignment but one of the elbow ligaments “get stuck.”  This is why x-rays do not show up abnormality.
When does this problem most commonly occur?
This problem most commonly occurs in children between one and four years of age.
How is this problem treated?
This problem is treated by rotating the arm in a specific fashion.  This maneuver is usually done by medical personnel.  Some physicians will instruct families on how to perform this maneuver themselves.
After the problem is fixed, will my child begin to move his arm again?
After solving the problem, your child usually will begin to move the arm spontaneously within one-half hour.  Most children have much less discomfort immediately after the maneuver to correct the condition.
Is any treatment necessary after my child has this problem?
No splinting is needed in most situations, and a sling generally is not useful.  You will be warmed about the cause of this problem to help prevent it reoccurrence.  Some children tend to have this problem repeatedly, but for most children this is not a common occurrence.