What Is Nursemaid’s Elbow?

If you have children then your top priority is to take care of them. Of course, this entails knowing problems that may occur in children and doing your research so you can aid them correctly.

Therefore, you need to know what nursemaid elbow is and how you can treat it. This is relatively common among toddlers and young children.

Here is everything you need to know about it.

What Is Nursemaid’s Elbow?

In simple terms, this is also called a pulled elbow. This can occur when a child is:

  • Yanked
  • Lifted
  • Swung by the wrist or hand
  • Result of falling on an outstretched arm

When this happens, one of the bones in the arms slightly dislocates. This is because children’s bones are soft and in the phase of development. This is why it is much easier for them to experience these types of injuries as one needs to be careful.

Do remember that most children don’t get the nursemaid elbow after they are five years old.

Symptoms of Nursemaid’s Elbow

Here are some symptoms you may notice in the child if they have a nursemaid elbow:

  • They complain that their elbow is in pain
  • They experience pain when the injured arm moves or is touched by someone else
  • If your child is keeping their arm in either a straight position or slight bend in the elbow
  • Unable to properly use the arm

There are no physical signs of a nursemaid elbow, this is why it is important to listen to your child when they are complaining of pain.

Treatment Of Nursemaid’s Elbow

Because this is a pulled ligament, you need to take your child to the doctor as soon as possible. Once you do, they will probably treat it through the process of reduction.

This is the process of moving the dislocated bone back in place. This is not anything invasive or requires surgery. It will simply take a few seconds as the doctor will use his hands to pop the bone back into place. There may be a slight click sound.

During this process, your child will experience pain. However, it will be only for a few seconds and once the bone is back in its place the pain will be gone. They will also be able to use their arm ten minutes after the reduction process.

However, sometimes children need more than one treatment for their elbow to heal. Of course, this will be told to you by your doctor once you seek medical care.

To prevent it from happening again, you mustn’t suddenly jerk or pull your child’s arm. This is because they need to be treated gently as they are still in their developing phase.


This is an extremely common problem and the only thing to do is to seek medical attention. Don’t try to place back the bone on your own if you don’t have any experience doing it.

Leave it to the doctors and the nursemaid elbow will be gone in a few seconds!

John Furst

JOHN FURST is an experienced emergency medical technician and qualified first aid and CPR instructor. John is passionate about first aid and believes everyone should have the skills and confidence to take action in an emergency situation.

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1 Response

  1. Munangwa says:

    If the child fall with arm you can’t stretch too much but you can put ice blocks

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