This information is provided as a resource and does not constitute an endorsement for any group. It is the responsibility of the reader to decide whether a group is appropriate for his/her needs. For evidence-based information on diseases, conditions, symptoms, treatment and wellness issues, continue searching this site.
Nursemaid's elbow means the elbow has slipped out of its normal place at the joint.
The elbow bone (radius) is connected to the elbow joint(humerus) by elastic bands called ligaments. These ligaments grow stronger and tighter as a child grows older. In little kids and babies, the ligaments are still loose. This makes it easy for the elbow to slip out of place.
Your doctor or nurse may use other terms for nursemaid's elbow, such as:
The injury is not often seen in kids older than 5 or 6. That's because as children grow, their bones harden and the ligaments get tighter and thicker. This helps keep the elbow firmly in place.
Girls are slightly more likely than boys to have nursemaid's elbow.
Causes of Nursemaid's Elbow
Nursemaid's elbow can happen if you tug or pull on a child's lower arm or hand, especially if the arm is twisted. It doesn't take much force for the injury to happen. The most common cause of nursemaid's elbow is a pulling-type injury.
Nursemaid's elbow may happen if you:
Catch a child by the hand to stop a fall.
Lift a child up by the hands or wrists.
Pull a child's arm through a jacket sleeve.
Swing a child by the arms or hands.
Yank on a child's arm to make him or her walk faster.