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Elbow Dislocation


Not too many people experience a dislocation of the elbow. While rare, when the joints are forced out of place and ligaments are torn, the condition is extremely painful. Find out what causes the elbow to dislocate and how an orthopedic doctor can help.

Causes & Triggers

  • Falls (especially with outstretched hands)
  • Genetic predisposition to loose ligaments
  • High-force, high-impact accidents or collisions

Signs & Symptoms

  • Bruising inside and/or outside elbow
  • Decreased and/or limited range of motion
  • Deformed appearance
  • Pain

Tips & Treatment

  • Seek immediate emergency care for this condition since severe dislocations can damage vessels and nerves, resulting in possible loss of limb.
  • There are two kinds of elbow dislocations:
    • Simple, meaning there is no significant injury to the bone
    • Complex, meaning there is evidence of severe injury to bones and ligaments
  • If not properly treated or healed, recurrence is possible
  • Non-surgical treatment involves re-aligning the elbow, casting/splinting and physical therapy.

Surgical treatment for complex elbow dislocation involves restoring alignment and repairing ligaments.

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