Nursemaid’s elbow is a dislocation of a bone in the elbow called the radius.
Dislocation means the bone slips out of its normal position.
The injury is also called radial head dislocation.
Nursemaid’s elbow is a common condition in young children, especially under age 5.
The injury occurs when a child is pulled up too hard by their hand or wrist. It is often seen after someone lifts a child up by one arm. This might occur, for example when trying to lift the child over a curb or high step.
Other ways this injury may happen include:
• Stopping a fall with the arm
• Rolling over in an unusual way
• Swinging a young child from their arms while playing
Once the elbow dislocates, it is likely to do so again, especially in the 3 or 4 weeks after the injury.
Nursemaid’s elbow does not usually occur after age 5. By this time, a child’s joints and the structures around it are stronger. Also, the child is less likely to be in a situation where this injury might occur. In some cases, the injury can happen in older children or adults, usually with a fracture of the forearm.