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Elbow Dislocation

Elbow Dislocation Overview

An elbow dislocation occurs when the bones of the forearm (the radius and ulna) move out of place compared with the bone of the arm (the humerus). The elbow joint, formed where these three bones meet, becomes dislocated, or out of joint.

Specific, serious injuries that can accompany elbow dislocation include breaking of the bones (fractures), injuries to the arteries in the arm (the vessels carrying blood to the hand), and injuries to the nerves that run through the elbow area, impairing movement and feeling in the arm and hand.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/1/2014

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The following tips may prevent elbow problems or injuries.

General prevention tips

  • Wear your seat belt when you travel in a motor vehicle.
  • Do not use alcohol or other drugs before participating in sports or when operating a motor vehicle or other equipment.
  • Don't carry objects that are too heavy.
  • Use a step stool. Do not stand on chairs or other unsteady objects.
  • Wear protective gear during sports or recreational activities, such as roller-skating or soccer. Supportive splints may reduce your risk for injury.
  • Stretch before and after physical exercise, sports, or recreational activities to warm up your muscles.
  • Do stretchingand range-of-motion (ROM) exercises with your fingers and wrist to prevent stiffening of the tendons that affect your elbows. Gently bend, straighten, and rotate your wrist. If you have any pain, stop the exercises.
  • Use the correct techniques (movements) or positions during activities so that you do not strain your muscles.
  • Avoid overusing your arm doing repeated movements that can injure your bursaor tendons. In daily routines or hobbies, examine activities in which you make repeated arm movements.
  • Take lessons to learn the proper technique for sports. Have a trainer or person who is familiar with sports equipment check your equipment to see if it is well suited for your level of ability, body size, and body strength.
  • If you feel that activities at your workplace are causing pain or soreness from overuse, call your human resources department for information on alternative ways of doing your job or to discuss equipment modifications or other job assignments.


Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Elbow Dislocation »

Elbow dislocation is the most common dislocation in children; in adults,it is the second most common dislocation after that of the shoulder.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

Medical Dictionary