Elbow pronation, what is it?

Elbow pronation is a pathological situation that has various names. It is also known as prone pain, locked elbow, and nanny elbow. The specific technical name is actually radial head subluxation..

Perhaps the most striking denomination is that of nurse’s elbow. This name has been acquired from the clinical picture when it was described, ever since it was an injury often caused by nannies of young children, involuntarily, taking them by the hand.

As we will see later, when explaining the mechanism of production, it is generally about a trauma that adults cause by abruptly stretching one of the two upper limbs of a child. The adult in question may be the father, mother, grandparents, or any other person, but the nanny reference has become popular.

What is elbow pronation?

In the medical field, pronation of the elbow is a blockage of movement. The child’s elbow is unable to perform the pronation-supination movementi.e. rotation on its axis. Blockage, of course, creates pain.

The age of presentation is from one year to five years. It is very rare for it to appear in people over the age of seven. Curiously, the left elbow is usually more affected than the rightand girls suffer from it in a higher proportion than boys.

Cases outside the usual age range have been recorded, but these are exceptions. Also bilateral presentation is outstandingsince precisely the production mechanism obeys the sudden jerk on one of the sides.

How does elbow pronation occur?

The mechanism of production of the injury is sudden traction. Excessive and rapid traction on one of the lower limbs causes the radius head to separate from its anatomical seat without being able to go back, blocking the movement.

We must first understand this The elbow joint is a combination of three bones: the humerus, radius and ulna.. The humerus is the arm bone that runs between the shoulder and the elbow. The radius and ulna are the bones in the forearm, between the elbow and the wrist.

Holding the tip of the radius in place, articulating with the humerus above and the ulna to the side, is the annular ligament. The annular ligament surrounds the radial head and gives it movement. preventing it from slipping out of the joint.

Until the age of seven, the annular ligament is immature, weak, and loose.. It stretches easily and does not have the harsh elasticity it acquires with growth and development. For this reason it is more common elbow pronation in childhood, especially before the age of seven.

By understanding children’s anatomy, we can better imagine the mechanism of injury. Usually an adult carries a small hand or wrist heldand to help him up a step or to prevent him from falling, he shakes the child’s arm sharply, then causes the head of the radius to overcome the resistance of the annular ligament by sliding out of place.

The elbow is locked and the child is no longer able to rotate the forearm from palm up to palm down. The misplaced spoke head prevents this.

No genetic inheritance has been found that makes him more likely to suffer from the injury. There are children who have greater laxity of their ligaments, and in them it is logical that subluxation is more possible. In any case, no child is free from suffering from it.

elbow pronation
The elbow joint is made up of three bones: the humerus, radius and ulna.

Elbow pronation symptoms

The quintessential symptom of elbow pronation is pain.. Very young children express it with intense crying, and the older ones can already signal it to the affected area.

The pain appears immediately after the sudden traction which in most cases has caused the subluxation. The child keeps the elbow extended and resists the movement while complaining. In addition to the straight elbow, the typical position of the affected person is with the upper limb close to the body.

Although the affected joint is only the elbow, it can be confused with wrist and shoulder injuries when observing the child’s position. Some adults present when the injury occurs are also confused when they hear the noise caused by the subluxation because they interpret it as coming from another joint.

The adult causing the injury may feel an unusual stretching of the child’s limb when he pullsbut it is something very subjective. What will attract attention will be the crying and the extended forearm position.

Elbow pronation what is it
Pain is the hallmark of elbow pronation. Also, there is a limitation in movement.


Fortunately, treatment is simple when performed by trained healthcare professionals. It does not require surgery and an on-call consultation can fix it in a very short time.

It is essential that the consultation takes place within twelve hours of the accident. The health professional will perform the maneuvers indicated for this purpose and will return the head of the radius to its place.. Elbow motion is immediately restored.

Elbow pronation can recur, but is less likely as the child grows and develops. Before repetitions the treatment is the same: manipulation by healthcare professionals to return the beam to its place.

So we don’t have to despair as parents if our child has the symptoms of elbow pronation. It is a priority to keep calm and go to an on-call consultation to resolve the problem. The maneuvers performed in time and correctly leave no after-effects and relieve suffering in an instant.

Elbow post pronation, what is it? first appeared on research-school



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