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Elbow Dislocation

Medical Treatment

The doctor will reduce (put back in place) your elbow by pulling down on your wrist and levering your elbow back into place. This is very painful, so powerful medications for pain may be given before reduction.

After your elbow is back in place, the doctor will get X-rays and then put you in a splint that will keep your elbow bent. The splint will make an "L" around the back of your elbow. It will be made of plaster or fiberglass. Its purpose is to prevent movement of your arm at the elbow. Usually, your arm will be placed in a sling to help you hold up your splint.

Next Steps Follow-up

After you are sent home from the doctor's office, you will be instructed to follow up with a bone doctor (orthopedist).

Wear your splint. Do not move your elbow. Elevate your elbow as much as possible, and ice it to reduce swelling.

Prevention

Do not fall on your outstretched arm. Avoid situations that would make falls more common (such as walking at night or being around slippery floors).

Outlook

Generally, this injury heals well. After watching closely for 3-5 days, the bone doctor will have you begin gentle movement exercises of your elbow. Usually, recovery occurs without any lasting effects.

Synonyms and Keywords

elbow dislocation, elbow joint

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WebMD Medical Reference from eMedicineHealth

Reviewed by Varnada Karriem-Norwood, MD on May 06, 2014

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