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Chronic Elbow Instability


A “loose” elbow can feel like it catches, pops or slides out of place. It usually means that the stability of the elbow is compromised, often due to injury of the bone or surrounding ligaments. Keep reading to learn more.

Causes & Triggers

  • Deformity
  • Elbow dislocation or similar injury
  • Falling on outstretched hand
  • Repetitive stress
  • Trauma (including forceful event or prior surgery)

Signs & Symptoms

  • Catching
  • Clicking
  • Locking
  • Pain on inside elbow
  • “Popping” or “sliding” sensation

Tips & Treatment

  • Modifying or limiting activities can relieve symptoms, especially pain or the feeling of instability.
  • Physical therapy, bracing and/or anti-inflammatory medications may be required for full rehabilitation.
  • Surgery may be necessary to repair torn ligaments and/or to regain full use of arm and elbow.

Related Specialties

Related Physicians