A dislocated elbow occurs when the bones of the elbow are forced out of their normal position. This mostly occurs when a person lands on an outstretched arm during a fall. The elbow is the second most dislocated joint in adults and first commonly dislocated joint in children.
Toddlers may develop nursemaid's elbow, a dislocated elbow that occurs when they are lifted or swug by their forearms. Immediate medical attention is required for a dislocated elbow.
Complications that can occur as a result of dislocation of the elbow include pinches or trapps of blood vessels and nerves that supply the lower arm and hand. Surgery is only required in cases where elbow dislocation is accompanied by fracture of the bones of the elbow.
The signs and symptoms of a dislocated elbow include: intense pain, obvious distortion of the joint and inability to move the joint. Children tent to hold the dislocated elbow in a flexed position next to the body and avoid using the affected arm.
Partial dislocations can cause bruising and pain where the ligaments were stretched or torn.
Common causes of elbow dislocations include falling on an outstretched arm and trauma during motor vehicle accidents. Dislocated elbow in toddlers can also be caused by improper lifting and sudden pulling of the child.
4 Making a Diagnosis
Making a diagnosis of dislocated elbow is done by performing several tests.
A physical exam in which doctors inspect the elbow to look for swelling or deformity and coldness or numbness in the arm and hand. An X-ray can help doctors to look for broken bones or damage to other structures around the elbow.
Participating in certain sport activities,such as:
or Weight baring exercises
Complications of a dislocated elbow include:
Fracture of the bones of the elbow
Pinche or trapped nerves and blood vessels between the dislocated bones or within the joint when the bones realign. This can lead to numbness and permanent damage of the tissues of the lower arm and hand.
Avulsion fractures, a fracture in which a stretched ligament pulls off a tiny bit of bone from its attachment point. This occurs mostly in children.
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