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Elbow Dislocation (cont.)

Prevention of Elbow Dislocation

Do not fall on the outstretched arm; if possible, try to put the body and extremities into a ball shape and roll if the fall is unavoidable. Avoid situations that would make falls more common (such as walking at night or being around slippery floors). Many clinicians warn against having "throw" rugs on wood or tile floors as they frequently cause falls.

Do not attempt to pick up or swing a child by their arm to avoid causing nursemaid's elbow.

Prognosis of Elbow Dislocation

Generally, this injury heals well and has a good prognosis. After watching closely for three to five days, the bone doctor will have a patient begin gentle movement exercises of the elbow if there is no fracture. Physical therapy can be required for optimal rehabilitation. Usually, recovery occurs without any lasting effects. Complications of nerve or artery injury can lead to long-term damage to the function of the hand and forearm.

Early reduction yields the best outcomes; even children who do not have nursemaid's elbow reduced are likely to have long-term elbow joint problems.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


Chorley, J. "Elbow Injuries in the Young Athlete." Dec. 20, 2010. <>.

Halstead, Mark E. "Elbow Dislocation." Dec. 2, 2011. <>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/7/2016

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