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First Aid & Emergencies

Dislocated Elbow Treatment

Call 911 if the arm:

  • Is deformed
  • Cannot be moved after injury
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  • Is deformed
  • Cannot be moved after injury

1. Don't Move the Elbow

  • Moving the elbow or trying to put it back into place could cause more damage.

2. Treat Symptoms

  • Apply ice to reduce swelling while waiting for medical care.
  • Give acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) for pain.

3. Follow Up

  • The health care provider will examine the arm, check for damage to arteries and nerves, and X-ray the area to check for a broken bone or dislocation.
  • A simple dislocation can be realigned and stabilized in an emergency room using strong pain medication and possibly sedation medication.
  • Sometimes surgery is needed.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on November 21, 2013

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