Elbow Dislocation

The bones of the forearm from the elbow joint when they come in close proximity. The radius and ulna; come in contact with the humerus to form this joint. The shifting of elbow bones of the elbow joint from its natural position causes dislocation of the elbow.

The second most commonly dislocated joint in adults after the shoulder joint is the elbow joint.

And the most common joint to dislocate in children.  elbow dislocation causes pain in the elbow joint and restricted elbow movement.

Elbow dislocation is an emergency condition because it can damage the surrounding structures like blood vessels and nerves. In case of no other injury like fracture or damage to the surrounding structures, elbow dislocation requires no surgery.

Causes of elbow dislocation

  • Fall on an outstretched arm
  • Vehicle accidents
  • In children, sudden pull from hands and improper lifting can cause elbow dislocation

Types of elbow dislocation

  • Simple: This means there is no other injury like a fractured bone or other tissue injuries. The simple elbow dislocation requires only conservative management.
  • Complex: In this condition, there is a bone fracture along with the dislocation. This type of dislocation requires surgical management.


  • Severe pain in the elbow joint
  • Swelling around the elbow joint
  • Severe pain while elbow bending or not able to bend the elbow
  • Distorted elbow joint


  • Physical examination by your doctor will also ask you about the symptoms in details and if there is any history of fall
  • X-ray is suggested by your doctor to check the joint condition and bone injuries
  • Arteriogram (x-ray of an artery)


  • Conservative
    • Take rest and give support to the dislocated elbow
    • Medications to lessen the pain and inflammation
    • After the repositioning of the elbow bones to their original position (after a dislocation), physical therapy exercises help in strengthening the muscles round about the elbow joint and it also helps in the prevention of recurrence
  • Surgical
      Surgery is suggested when the displacement is accompanied by bone break, injured arteries, nerves, and torn ligaments.

    • Surgical stabilization of the fractur
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