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A to Z: Nursemaid's Elbow (Radial Head Subluxation)

A to Z: Nursemaid's Elbow (Radial Head Subluxation)

May also be called: Radial Head Subluxation; Pulled Elbow

Nursemaid's elbow, also called "radial head subluxation" or "pulled elbow," is an injury that happens when the tip or "head" of a lower arm bone (the radius) slips out of place near the elbow.

More to Know

Nursemaid's elbow is a common, often preventable injury in young children that usually follows sudden pulling of a child's arm. Most cases are in kids younger than 4 years old (often due to quickly grabbing or lifting a child by the hand) because the radius is not held in place as tightly in kids this age as in older kids.

Nursemaid's elbow is fixed when a doctor or nurse practitioner gently puts the bone back into place with a very quick maneuver called a reduction.

Keep in Mind

Nursemaid's elbow is a common injury of early childhood. In fact it's one of the most common elbow injuries in kids. As kids get older, however, their ligaments tighten and become thicker, bones enlarge and harden, and the risk of nursemaid's elbow decreases.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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