Nursemaid’s elbow is a relatively frequent pediatric joint injury that occurs most often in children ages 6 months to 5 years. Previously described as subluxation of the radial head, nursemaid’s elbow is now referred to by the preferred and more anatomically correct term annular ligament displacement. The annular ligament normally is located just below the radial head as it passes around the proximal radius. The injury typically results from a traction force applied to a pronated arm, such as when a child is pulled up by the hand or falls suddenly when being held by the hand. This movement allows the annular ligament to slip over the head of the radius and come to rest in the radial-humeral joint between the radius and capitulum, where it becomes entrapped.

Although a traction force is the most common mechanism of this injury, often no definite history of a typical pull or...

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