Conditions + Treatments

Nursemaid's Elbow in Children

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Contact the Hand and Upper Extremity Program

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Nursemaid's elbow occurs when the radius (one of the bones in the forearm) slips out of place from where it normally attaches to the elbow joint. It is a common condition in children younger than 4 years of age. It is also called dislocated elbow, pulled elbow, slipped elbow, or toddler elbow. The medical term for nursemaid's elbow is radial head subluxation.

  • Nursemaid's elbow is a temporary condition with no permanent damage.
  • Usually seen in children aged 1-4 years, but has been seen in infants aged 6-12 months.
  • Rarely seen in children older than 6 years because by this time, a child's bones are larger and more well-defined.

How Boston Children's Hospital approaches nursemaid's elbow.

Because young children who experience nursemaid's elbow may be in a lot of pain, it is important to Children's that your child is kept calm and reassured throughout diagnosis and treatment.

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- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

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