Pulled Elbow: What It Is & How It Is Treated

Pulled elbow’ is a condition that is commonly seen in children between 1 to 4 years. As a child’s limbs are still developing, a slightly forceful pull or jerk can easily dislocate the child’s elbow. 

Dr. Gourav Jandial, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon at Sitaram Bhartia shares information about this phenomenon. 

What is Pulled Elbow?

Pulled elbow, also known as Nursemaid’s elbow, is the most common cause of immobility in the upper limbs of children. It is caused by axial traction or a sudden pull of the extended pronated arm (though there could be no history of pulling the arm in as high as 30% of cases).

What are the Symptoms of Pulled Elbow?

There is usually a history of pulling the child along by the hand. The child will avoid moving the affected arm. There may not be any visible signs of swelling or injury. 

How Is It Diagnosed?

This condition is identified upon clinical examination by the doctor. The involved limb will be in extended pronated position.

How Is It Treated?

The dislocated radial head is brought back to its position by specific reduction manoeuvres. A ‘click’ sound is heard at the time of a successful reduction. Chances of recurrence can be as high as 27 to 39% especially in the first two years of age.

5 Things to Remember with Pulled Elbow

  • It is most commonly seen in the first 4 years of life.
  • Pulled elbow can be easily reduced
  • Avoid longitudinal strain on child’s arm – do not pull on the hands and wrists
  • Recurrence is common especially in the first two years.
  • If there is swelling around the elbow, history of fall or uncertainty about the history, it can be some bony injury.

Don’t delay a proper diagnosis. Come in and consult Dr. Gourav Jandial! Call +918826391002 to schedule your consultation.