ABC Medical Center > Dislocated elbow

What is Dislocated elbow?

18:53 - 5 December , 2023


It refers to an event in which one of the three bones that meet at the elbow moves out of place or separates, causing the ligaments that hold the bones together at the joint to tear or stretch.

A dislocated elbow is a fairly common condition in children under six years old because the ligaments and bones are still in the process of formation.

Factors that increase the risk of elbow dislocation include:

  • Car accidents.
  • Taking a child by the arms and swinging them.
  • Falls.
  • Give a sudden jerk of the elbow.
  • Hereditary factors that cause loose ligaments.
  • Stop a fall with your arm.
  • Sports activities.
  • Elbow trauma.
  • Turning in an inappropriate way.

Signs and symptoms Dislocated elbow

  • Altered elbow shape.
  • Weakness, numbness, or stiffness of the arm, elbow, and hand.
  • Pain in the elbow at the time of the injury.
  • Hematomas.
  • Hypersensitivity in the affected area.
  • Swelling.
  • Stretched or torn ligaments.
  • Problems moving the elbow.

In the case of children:

  • Problems moving or stretching their arm.
  • Need to keep the arm close to the body.

See your ABC orthopedist immediately if you or your child has a dislocated elbow, as complications can occur if blood vessels and nerves are pinched or compressed.

Diagnosis and treatment Dislocated elbow

The specialist will analyze the symptoms and clinical history and perform a physical examination of the arm and elbow to verify that the bones are not fractured or broken. They may order X-rays or an MRI.

The treatment to follow will be established based on the severity of the symptoms and the injury, but the doctor will likely try to put the bone back into place and prescribe:

  • Painkillers.
  • Anti-inflammatories.
  • Cold compresses.
  • Use of an orthopedic device (splint).

A dislocated elbow usually does not cause long-term problems, although children are at greater risk of recurrence.

At the Orthopedics and Traumatology Center we seek to improve the lives of patients restricted or immobilized by musculoskeletal disorders or injuries. We specialize in the care of the musculoskeletal system by integrating the latest medical, biological, and technological advances, in strict adherence to the highest international standards of patient care.



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    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.