When the joint surfaces of an elbow are forced apart, the elbow is dislocated. The elbow is the second most commonly dislocated joint in adults (after shoulder dislocation). Elbow dislocation can be complete or partial. A partial dislocation is referred to as a subluxation. The amount of force needed to cause an elbow dislocation is enough to cause a bone fracture at the same time. These two injuries (dislocation-fracture) often occur together.
- Falls. Falling onto an outstretched hand can pop the upper arm bone out of alignment within the elbow joint.
- Motor vehicle accidents.
- Sudden pull
- Severe pain in the elbow,
- Inability to bend the arm are all signs of an elbow dislocation.
- In some cases, people may lose feeling in their hand or lose a pulse (can't feel a heartbeat in the wrist).
- Not able to move the elbow
- Visible bone dislocation
- It is possible for the elbow to relocate by itself.
- Manual reduction by doctor
- Arm sling
- If there has been damage to the bones and/or ligaments, surgery may be needed to restore alignment and function. The type of surgery depends on the extent of the damage. Wires, pins, or even an external fixation device may be needed to hold everything together until healing occurs.