Why Does It Occur?
Elbow dislocations are the second most common form of dislocation, followed by shoulder dislocations. These commonly occur during falls when attempting to catch yourself with your outstretched arm. They may also occur as a result of blunt force directly to your elbow (e.g. motor vehicle accident). Pure elbow dislocations typically only injure soft tissue (tendons and ligaments).
Elbow dislocations commonly cause severe pain in one's elbow with evidence of swelling and stiffness. Individuals may also experience numbness and an inability to feel one's pulse in their wrist/hand.
For pure elbow dislocations, surgery is typically unnecessary. Dr. Lee will perform a "closed reduction" in which he will manipulate the bone back into its proper position under local anesthetic. Post-reduction x-rays will be taken to verify acceptable positioning has been attained and to ensure no further complications occurred.
Surgery is only deemed necessary if complicating factors, such as fractures, vascular damage, and/or neural interference, are present in conjunction with the dislocation. Learn more about scheduling surgery.
After reduction, home exercises will be instructed to regain muscle strength and to further stabilize your elbow joint. If necessary, formal physical therapy will also be started.
Learn more about post-operative care.
*It is important to note that all of the information above is not specific to anyone and is subject to change based on many different factors including but not limited to individual patient, diagnosis, and treatment specific variables. It is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopedic advice or assistance should consult Dr. Steven Lee or an orthopedic specialist of your choice.
*Dr. Steven Lee is a board certified orthopedic surgeon and is double fellowship trained in the areas of Hand and Upper Extremity Surgery, and Sports Medicine. He has offices in New York City, Scarsdale, and Westbury Long Island.