Dislocated Elbow

What Is Dislocated Elbow?

Dislocated Elbow: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

A dislocated elbow, often referred to as nursemaid’s elbow in children, occurs when the elbow joint’s bones are forcefully pulled out of alignment, resulting in partial dislocation. This condition primarily arises from sudden hand or forearm pulling, causing the radius bone in the forearm to shift out of its proper position at the elbow joint. While dislocated elbows can affect individuals of any age, they are more prevalent in children, particularly those under the age of four. This heightened susceptibility in children is due to their ongoing bone and muscle development, which is not as robust as that of adults.

Causes of a Dislocated Elbow

In young children, dislocated elbows are commonly triggered by actions such as abrupt hand or arm pulling, lifting, or swinging a child by the arms. In adults, dislocated elbows may result from various factors, including falls, sports-related injuries, or traumatic incidents like those occurring in motor vehicle accidents.

Symptoms of a Dislocated Elbow

Dislocated elbow symptoms often encompass:

  • Intense pain and arm immobility
  • Immediate pain following the injury
  • Visible joint distortion and bruising

Prompt medical attention is crucial for this condition to alleviate pain and prevent any potential long-term damage.

Diagnosis of a Dislocated Elbow

A dislocated elbow diagnosis primarily relies on a physical examination. In many cases, a healthcare provider can identify this condition based on the elbow’s appearance. However, X-rays may also be recommended to ensure there are no associated bone fractures.

Treatment of a Dislocated Elbow

Effective treatment strategies for a dislocated elbow may include:

  • Pain medication
  • Reduction, a procedure to realign the displaced bones
  • Application of a splint or sling to support the healing process for several weeks
  • Physical therapy in severe cases, facilitating strength and range of motion restoration in the affected joint.

At City Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, our experienced team specializes in diagnosing and treating dislocated elbows, providing tailored care to meet individual needs and ensure a speedy recovery.

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