Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

Overview Incidence Symptoms Evaluation Treatment questions for doctor reduction specialist Home Care pain control warning signs Prevention Outlook Underlying Cause Anatomy

Radial Head Subluxation Home Care

Home care for nursemaid's elbow includes:

  • Apply cold compresses:
    • Wrap ice in a moist hand towel. Do not apply ice directly to the skin.
    • Apply for 20-30 minutes, every 1-2 hours, for the first few days.
  • Elevate the arm:
    • Above the heart if possible
  • Rest the arm:
  • Child may be placed into a shoulder sling for comfort:
  • Follow splint care instructions.
  • Acetaminophen for pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:

Radial Head Subluxation Pain Control

Common medications used at home for pain in children with nursemaid's elbow include:

Aspirin and most of the other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) are not used in children except under a doctor's care.

  • Acetaminophen decreases fever and pain, but does not help inflammation.
  • Dosing is 10-15 mg per kilogram (5-7 mg per pound) of body weight every 4-6 hours, up to the adult dose.
  • Do not exceed the maximum daily dose.
  • Acetaminophen products come in various strengths. Always follow the package instructions.
  • Avoid this drug in children with liver disease or an allergy to acetaminophen.
  • Common acetaminophen products include Tylenol, Panadol and many others.



Radial Head Subluxation Warning Signs

Notify your doctor if your child has nursemaid's elbow and any of the following:

Continue to Radial Head Subluxation Prevention

Last Updated: Dec 21, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Radial Head Subluxation References
  1. Kaplan RE, Lillis KA. Recurrent nursemaid's elbow (annular ligament displacement) treatment via telephone. Pediatrics. 2002 Jul;110(1 Pt 1):171-4. [12093966]
  2. McDonald J, Whitelaw C, Goldsmith LJ. Radial head subluxation: comparing two methods of reduction. Acad Emerg Med. 1999 Jul;6(7):715-8. [10433531]
  3. Shabat S, Folman Y, Mann G, Kots Y, Fredman B, Banian M, Liberman N, Nyska M. The role of sonography in detecting radial head subluxation in a child. J Clin Ultrasound. 2005 May;33(4):187-9. [15856520]
  4. Skaggs DL, Mirzayan R. The posterior fat pad sign in association with occult fracture of the elbow in children. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1999 Oct;81(10):1429-33. [10535592]
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