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Nursemaid's Elbow (Radial Head Dislocations)

Nursemaid's elbow, also known as 'pulled elbow', 'radial head dislocations' or 'radial head subluxations', is a common injury for children up to around 7 years old. It occurs when the bones of the elbow are pulled out of place; this can be done easily with little force, as the bones and muscles of a young child are still developing.

What is Nursemaid's Elbow (Radial Head Dislocations)?

In young children, the ligaments connecting the radius and humerus are still loose, and therefore the bones can easily be pulled so that they shift or partially dislocate.  

Nursemaids Elbow (Radial Head Dislocation)

Signs and Symptoms of Nursemaid's Elbow (Radial Head Dislocations)

A child with Nursemaid's Elbow (Radial Head Dislocation) may not have any outward swelling or bruising, or any sign of a serious injury. However, there will be the following signs and symptoms: 

Signs of Condition Title...

  • pain when child moves the arm
  • child will hold the arm still, and close to the body
  • child will refuse to rotate or bend the elbow, or use the arm
  • elbow may be slightly bent, with palm turned inwards towards body
  • anxiety

Causes of Nursemaid's Elbow (Radial Head Dislocations)

A sudden pulling of a child's hand or arm can cause Nursemaid's Elbow (Radial Head Dislocations). A few typical scenarios where this happens are:

  • catching a child by the hand to stop a fall
  • lifting a child up by their hands or wrists
  • swinging a child by their hands or arms
  • yanking of a child's arm to make them walk faster
  • pulling a child's arm through when putting on a jacket 

There are also rare times when Nursemaid's Elbow (Radial Head Dislocations) occur when an infant rolls over onto its arm, or uses their hands to brace themselves during a fall. 

Statistics and Epidemiology related Nursemaid's Elbow (Radial Head Dislocations)

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75%
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How MHC Treatment Options Can Help Nursemaid's Elbow (Radial Head Dislocations)

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