Nursemaid’s Elbow & Radial head dislocations

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Nursemaid’s elbow is referred to an injury on the outside of the elbow as a result of swinging a child by their arms or from a sudden jerking of the child’s arm. This injury most frequently affects children between the ages of 2-4 years old. The end of the radius bone is called the radial head which is located on the outside of the elbow and is surrounded by an annular ligament which holds the radial head in place during movements of the forearm. Unfortunately the radial head is not completely formed between these ages and results in the lateral elbow being prone to dislocations especially if there is any distraction/ rotational force applied to the child’s arm.

Signs and Symptoms:

  • Generally presents with the arm hanging straight down on the side of the child’s body.
  • Loss of strength and not able to use the arm after the injury.
  • Severe lateral elbow pain when moving the arm or elbow.
  • Restricted stiffness due to guarding around the elbow.

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