Elbow Dislocation

The elbow is the joint between the arm and forearm bones. This joint is said to be dislocated when the surfaces of the three bones, ulna, radius, and humerus, are separated. Dislocation of the elbow can either be partial or complete.

Elbow dislocations are usually associated with ligament tears, tendon tears, and sometimes fractures around the elbow.

Causes  |  Symptoms  |  Treatment Options

What Causes Elbow Dislocation?

Elbow dislocations usually occur:  

    • After a traumatic fall
    • Falling from a bike
    • Falling awkwardly during sports or on slippery ground

What are the Symptoms of Elbow Dislocation?

At the time of injury, the elbow will be very painful and deformed. One may not be able to control the elbow as the joint is out of place. This is usually accompanied by swelling. 

Once the bones are put back in place, one may: 

  • Feel persistent looseness in the joint 
  • Experience recurrent dislocations.

Elbow Dislocation Treatment

It is essential that a dislocated joint be put back in place as soon as possible. After that, the treatment often depends on the severity of the dislocation.

Non-Surgical Treatment for Elbow Dislocation

Non-surgical treatment options are primarily applicable to simple dislocations. The elbow is immobilised in a cast or elbow brace for a few weeks to heal the muscle and ligaments.

    • Physiotherapy
      Once the elbow has started to heal, range-of-motion exercises help restore normal elbow flexibility and strength. This may take several months.

Surgical Treatment for Elbow Dislocation

    • Elbow Reconstruction Surgery
      Surgery often involves fixing the broken bones and repairing or reconstructing torn ligaments or tendons. With stable fixation and reconstruction, early mobilisation of the elbow joint is possible.This will help restore your elbow’s full range of motion and helps prevent long-term problems of elbow stiffness and pain.