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Nursemaid's Elbow Reduction

Johnson, Melinda K. DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, AGACNP-BC, ENP-C

Section Editor(s): Wilbeck, Jennifer DNP, RN, FNP-BC, ACNP-BC, ENP-C, FAANP; Column Editor

doi: 10.1097/TME.0000000000000270

Nursemaid's elbow, also known as radial head subluxation, is a common childhood orthopedic injury that can easily be diagnosed and reduced by the advanced practice nurse. It is most common in children 1–4 years of age and typically occurs as the result of a pulling mechanism on an outstretched arm. This leads to subluxation of the radial head at the annular ligament. The child subsequently refuses to use the affected arm, leading the caregiver to present for evaluation. This article explores epidemiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, reduction techniques, and parent education.

Emergency Nurse Practitioner Program, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Nashville, Tennessee.

Corresponding Author: Melinda K. Johnson, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, AGACNP-BC, ENP-C, Instructor of Nursing, Emergency Nurse Practitioner Program, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, 461 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37240 (

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Disclosure: The author reports no conflict of interest.

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