Pulled Elbow: Cause, Symptoms, Treatment

Pulled Elbow: Cause, Symptoms, Treatment

Pulled Elbow

What is Pulled Elbow:-

Pulled elbow occurs when one of the forearm bones (the radius) slips through a ligament at the elbow. A ligament holds the bones in their place. When a child's arm is suddenly pulled, twisted or jerked this causes the ligament to stretch and the radius to slip out of the place. It is also called nursemaid's elbow.

Pulled elbow is very common in young children. It normally occurs between the ages of 6 months to 5 years.


Signs and symptoms of a pulled elbow:-


After a sudden pull or twist of the arm, the child will usually cry out in pain.

Your child may hold their arm hanging and not moving at their side. They will afraid to use their arm.

It is normal for your child to feel upset. They may cry or complain only if the arm is moved. It is also possible that they do not cry and are not upset. Many children will point to the wrist when asked where it hurts, even though the problem is in the area of the elbow.




Usually doctor will not need of an X-ray. Doctor will move the arm and slip the bone and ligament back into the place. The procedure causes some pain for the child, but it is usually a very quick procedure.

Your child will usually start to use their arm within 20 to 30 minutes after this procedure. They may be afraid to move the arm at first. If the injury has been present for many hours it may take a bit longer for them to use their arm normally.

Sometimes the bone will move back into place when you move your child's arm by accident, such as when taking off a shirt or sweater. Do not try to move the bone back into place on your own.


Preventing a pulled elbow:-


Avoid sudden pulling or jerking of your child's arm, such as lifting or swinging your child by the hands or wrists. Tell other family members as well. Some young children are particularly prone to pulled elbows. They usually grow out of it by five years of age.


Taking care of your child at home:-


A pulled elbow will not cause long-term problems for your child. Once the elbow is back into its normal position, your child will start to use it normally again. You do not need to restrict your child's activity.

Your child may have some pain after the procedure. If so, give a mild pain relief medication such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.


Call your doctor if:


  • Your child is still not using their arm normally by the next day after the procedure.
  • Your child seems to be in a lot of pain.
  • This type of injury happens again.