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Nursemaid Elbow (cont.)

Nursemaid Elbow Symptoms

  • Immediately after the injury occurs, the child generally cries in pain and will refuse to use the involved arm. Typically, the arm will be protected against the body and held slightly bent (in flexion) with the forearm turned with the thumb toward the body (in pronation). The child will often support the painful arm with their other hand.
  • The child will usually be calm shortly after the initial event and may return to playing only now without the use of the affected arm. When the forearm is turned with the thumb away from the body to show the palm upward (in supination), the child will resist and cry in pain.
    • The child who is old enough to talk may often describe pain in the wrist or shoulder in addition to, or in place of, any pain in the elbow.
    • Most commonly, your child will appear completely unchanged with the exception that he or she will no longer use the injured arm.

When to Seek Medical Care for Nursemaid Elbow

Call your doctor immediately after the injury. If your doctor feels comfortable seeing you in the office and can get you in right away, putting the bones back in place (this is called reduction) can be performed in the office very quickly.

If you are unable to get an appointment or cannot be seen in the doctor's office for any other reason, go to the hospital's emergency department for evaluation and corrective actions.

  • Any trauma other than a simple pulling on the hand or forearm might require further evaluation or X-rays done in the hospital.
  • If you notice a deformity, large swelling, bruising, or anything else concerning to you, go to the emergency department for evaluation of your child.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/7/2016

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