Nursemaid's Elbow Symptoms & Causes

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In-Depth

What causes nursemaid's elbow?

A sudden pulling force on your child's arm, particularly if the arm is extended and twisted, can cause nursemaid's elbow. This can happen easily in the hustle and bustle of everyday parenting.

  • Lifting your child by the hand
  • Swinging your child while holding him or her by the hand
  • Pulling your child's arm through the sleeve of a jacket
  • Catching your child by the hand to prevent him or her from falling
  • Pulling your child by the arm to hurry them up
  • If an infant rolls over himself or herself

What are the symptoms of nursemaid's elbow?

The following are the most common symptoms of nursemaid's elbow. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • immediate pain in the injured arm; if your child can talk, he or she may describe pain in the elbow, along with pain in the wrist and/or shoulder
  • refusal or inability to move the injured arm
  • anxiety due to the sudden pain

The symptoms of nursemaid's elbow may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's physician for a diagnosis.

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