Nursemaid’s Elbow

Never has there been a more anachronistic name for such a common malady. Hailing from the time when the wealthy had female domestic workers who cared for children within their large household, this outmoded eponym describes a common orthopedic condition that impacts young children. I’ll cast my vote for calling it “pulled elbow” like they do in Australia – because it describes when happens when the radial head subluxes from its usual position nestled in the annular ligament. This episode discusses the diagnosis and management of this can’t miss condition, that I suspect our residents and students aren’t seeing as much as they should.

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Macias CG, Bothner J, Wiebe R. A comparison of supination/flexion to hyperpronation in the reduction of radial head subluxations. Pediatrics. 1998 Jul;102(1):e10. doi: 10.1542/peds.102.1.e10. PMID: 9651462.

Nardi NM, Schaefer TJ. Nursemaid Elbow. [Updated 2020 Nov 1]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-.

By bradsobo

Brad Sobolewski, MD, MEd is a Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine and an Associate Director for the Pediatric Residency Training Program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He is on Twitter @PEMTweets and authors the Pediatric Emergency Medicine site PEMBlog and produces and hosts the PEM Currents: The Pediatric Emergency Medicine Podcast.

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