All About Dislocated Elbow Treatment

The most common bone dislocation type in children and adults is elbow dislocation. It is believed to be the second most common dislocation after that of the shoulder. You must understand the bones of your arm to understand the concept of dislocation. Your arm has three bones namely the radius, ulna, and humerus. Radius and ulna are the two bones of your forearm; when these bones go away from the alignment with the arm bone called the humerus, then it is called elbow dislocation.

The serious types of injuries that accompany elbow dislocation include fractures, injuries to the arteries of the arm, injuries of the nerves that run through the elbow region, impaired arm movements. Etc.

Risk factors

  • Age: younger children’s bones are easily dislocated compared to adults
  • Sports participation: Many elbow dislocations are sports-related
  • Heredity: Some people have looser ligaments near the elbow, right from the birth


Your doctor will begin the examination

  • He/she will make sure that your nerves are unhurt; this is ensured by checking your pulse. Your doctor would ask you to move your fingers and wrist to ensure the proper blood flow to the hand.
  • Your doctor would then order for a hand X-ray, to evaluate the cracks and fractures or dislocations in the hand.
  • If your doctor suspects any injury to the arteries, he or she may order further tests such as an arteriogram.


After going home, you must not move your elbow and always wear the splint. Make sure your elbow is in an elevated position to reduce the swelling.


The common symptoms of elbow dislocation include severe elbow pain, swelling, inability to bend the arm.

In severe cases, you may feel that you have lost the sensation and no longer feel the pulse. It may be due to the injury to the nerves and arteries that run through the elbow joint.

When to call a doctor?

If your elbow joint pain is unbearable and if you feel troublesome to move the joint near the elbow or if you cannot feel your hand, or do not feel the pulse near the injured area then, you must seek medical attention immediately.


  • You must not fall on your outstretched arm.
  • You must avoid situations that make you more prone to falls.
  • You must take other’s help to get out of bed for performing any activities at least for some days.

The most common causes of an elbow dislocation in adults include:

  • Accidents: you may have a dislocation of the elbow if you’re a victim of a motor vehicle accident.
  • Falls: if you’re falling position is such a way that your hand is outstretched, then this can pop up the upper bone out the ligament and cause elbow dislocation.
  • In toddlers, the injury occurs at the time of extra pulling motion; such causes include:

  • Improper lifting: Trying to lift weights improperly would lead to elbow dislocation.
  • Sudden pulling or jerking: sudden pulling of the child’s arm may cause elbow dislocation due to overreached elasticity of the arm.

At home, you must apply an ice pack. This initial remedy reduces the swelling and further pain. But the next step to take immediately is to go to a doctor.

  • Medications

    Your doctor would prescribe a heavy dose of painkillers to reduce the pain caused while repositioning your elbow.

  • Splint

    After placing your elbow in its position, your doctor will get an X-ray and then provide a splint; this is a cast made of plaster of Paris and is applied to keep your elbow devoid of any movements, which ensures a good rest for your elbow.

  • Surgery

    Your doctor would recommend surgery if:

  • Reattachment is required for torn ligaments
  • Damaged nerves or blood vessels requires any repair
  • There is any evidence of broken bones near the dislocation
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation

    Physiotherapy and appropriate rehabilitation for elbow dislocation are beneficial, but you must first talk to your doctor before choosing them. Your physical advisor would then advise you on certain exercises to improve your range of motion. You will be asked to avoid the activities that aggravate the pain near the elbow.

FAQ- Dislocated Elbow

Elbow Dislocation- Your arm has three bones namely the radius, ulna, and humerus. Radius and ulna are the two bones of your forearm; when these bones go away from the alignment with the arm bone called the humerus.

  • Medications
  • Splint
  • Surgery
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation