Lifting Children from their Hands can Dislocate their Elbow

There is a common practice to see parents, nannies and caregivers, lift children from their hands, this practice can lead to dislocation of one of the bones in the elbow joint leading to a condition known as Nursemaid’s elbow or what your doctor will call a radial head subluxation, (a subluxation is simply a partial dislocation)

When it comes to children, their bones and ligament are a bit loose than those of adults, this is normal as the child is still growing and this injury is common among children between 1 to 4 years of age



The bones of the elbow are held together by ligaments, when you pull or exert substantial force on the arm or hands, you can dislocate this elbow joint


A number of the things that can cause this are

  • Pulling a child up by the arms
  • Jerking a child by the hand to correct them
  • Swinging a child by the arms
  • When a baby rolls over into an uncomfortable position
  • Breaking a child’s fall by holding the arm


Can a fall cause this? Not likely, in fact, it is rare to have this condition as a result of a fall



The child who has this condition will hold their affected arm in a straight way with a slight bend in the elbow, you may notice an awkward bend in the affected arm, or simply notice that the child would not want to use the affected arm

Would there be swelling or redness?

Not likely,

If you notice any of this, please take your child to the paediatrician or hospital close by to get it looked at.



Your doctor may or may not require an X-ray of the affected arm, but before that, he or she would examine and reach a diagnosis, to rule out a fracture

Then he or she would attempt a process called reduction, this is to help move the bones and ligament back into place


The doctor will fold the child’s arm upward from a straight position, turning the palm as the arm bends at the elbow. They’ll support your child’s elbow with the other hand. You may hear a faint pop or click.


Please do not attempt this at home, because you do not know what other complications you may be dealing with

After this, your doctor will give your child some pain medication to help with the pain, the child usually gets better after 5 to 10 minutes



Children who have this condition will most likely have it again, but you can prevent them by avoiding the things that can cause them


Did you find this article helpful?

Please share with a mother or nanny, just click the WhatsApp icon to share on your status too.

Leave a Reply

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.