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QOD: How do I know if my child has a nursemaid’s elbow?

Children who are forcefully jerked upward by the arm, whether by swinging or by being pulled out of harms way, can suffer an injured elbow.

Commonly referred to as a nursemaid’s elbow, this condition occurs when the annular ligament in the elbow becomes trapped between the bones that make up the elbow. Children with a nursemaid’s elbow, also known as subluxation of the radial head, will usually cry in pain immediately after the injury, then hold their arm to their side, slightly bent with the palm facing inward.

Typically, children refuse to move the arm on their own. Fortunately, this dislocation is easily “popped” back into place with gentle maneuvering by an experienced physician.

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