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Radial head dislocation

  • Alternative Names

    Nursemaid's elbow; Pulled elbow; Partial elbow dislocation; Elbow subluxation


    First Aid

    1. Apply an ice pack to the elbow.

    2. Splint the injured arm in the position in which you found it. Immobilize the area both above and below the injured joint, including the shoulder and the wrist if possible.

    3. Take the child to the doctor's office or emergency room. In some cases of frequently recurring nursemaid's elbow, your physician may teach you how to attempt to relocate the elbow yourself. This is done by supinating (externally rotating) the forearm (in other words, turning the thumb out with palm up), then gently flexing the arm at the elbow (pushing the forearm up into the biceps).


    Do Not
    • DO NOT Move the child without first splinting the arm.
    • DO NOT Attempt to straighten the arm or change its position.
    • DO NOT Make this diagnosis without a clear history of someone pulling on the arm

    Call immediately for emergency medical assistance if

    Although this injury is usually not a medical emergency, you should call for immediate medical attention if any of the above symptoms is present.