Background Pulled elbow (nursemaid’s elbow) is a common injury in young children. It often results from a sudden pull on the arm, usually by an adult or taller person, which pulls the radius through the annular ligament, resulting in subluxation (partial dislocation) of the radial head. It can also be caused by a fall or twist. The child experiences sudden acute pain and loss of function in the affected arm. Pulled elbow is usually treated by manual reduction of the subluxed radial head. Various manoeuvres can be applied; most commonly, supination of the forearm, often combined with flexion, and (hyper-)pronation. It is unclear which is most successful. This is an update of a Cochrane review first published in 2009 and last updated in 2011.
Objectives To compare the effects (benefits and harms) of the different methods used to manipulate pulled elbow in young children.
Search methods We searched the Cochrane Bone, Joint and Muscle Trauma Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, LILACS, PEDro, clinical trial registers and reference lists of articles. Date of last search: September 2016.
Selection criteria Randomised or quasi-randomised controlled clinical trials evaluating manipulative interventions for pulled elbow were included. Our primary outcome was failure at the first attempt, necessitating further treatment.
Data collection and analysis Two review authors independently evaluated trials for inclusion, assessed risk of bias, and extracted data.We pooled data using a fixed effect model.
Main results Overall, nine trials with 906 children (all younger than seven years old and 58% of whom were female) were included, of which five trials were newly identified in this update. Eight trials were performed in emergency departments or ambulatory care centres, and one was performed in a tertiary paediatric orthopaedic unit. Four trials were conducted in the USA, three in Turkey, one in Iran, and one in Spain. Five trials were at high risk of selection bias because allocation was not concealed and all trials were at high risk of detection bias due to the lack of assessor blinding.,
Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews
Department of General Practice

Krul, M., van der Wouden, H., Kruithof, E. J., van Suijlekom-Smit, L., & Koes, B. (2017). Manipulative interventions for reducing pulled elbow in young children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2017(7). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD007759.pub4