Effectiveness of reduction maneuvers in the treatment of nursemaid's elbow: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Rens Bexkens*, Frederic J. Washburn, Denise Eygendaal, Michel P.J. van den Bekerom, Luke S. Oh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Background/Aim Nursemaid's elbow usually occurs in young children when longitudinal traction is placed on the arm. Several manipulative maneuvers have been described, although, the most effective treatment technique is yet unclear. The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to compare the two most commonly performed maneuvers (supination-flexion and hyperpronation) in the treatment of nursemaid's elbow. Methods A literature search was performed in PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane databases to identify randomized controlled trials comparing supination-flexion and hyperpronation. Data were extracted and pooled independently by two authors. Methodological quality assessment of included studies was performed. Meta-analysis was performed using a fixed-effect model in case of homogeneity across studies, and using a random-effect model in case of heterogeneity. Heterogeneity was calculated with the χ2 test and inconsistency in study effects across trials was quantified by I2 values. Results Seven randomized trials, including 701 patients (62% female), were included. A total of 350 patients were treated with the hyperpronation maneuver versus 351 patients who underwent the supination-flexion maneuver. Meta-analysis showed that hyperpronation was more effective than supination-flexion (risk ratio, 0.34; 95% confidence interval, 0.23 to 0.49; I2, 35%). The absolute risk difference between maneuvers was 26% in favor of hyperpronation, resulting in a number needed to treat of 4 patients. Trials lacked blinding of assessors and universal pain measures. Conclusions Hyperpronation was more effective in terms of success rate and seems to be less painful compared to the supination-flexion maneuver in children with nursemaid's elbow.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-163
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Hyperpronation
  • Nursemaid's elbow
  • Radial head subluxation
  • Reduction
  • Supination-flexion


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