An elbow dislocation is a painful condition in which any of the three bones in the elbow joint move out of place or are separated. It makes the elbow unstable and in some cases, elbows are not even able to move. It affects and damages the ligaments of the elbow and the surrounding muscles, nerves, and tendons. It may lead to some major injuries like fractures, and injuries to the arteries in the arm and the nerves that may cause impaired movement and feeling in the hand and the arm.
There are various causes such as –
Traumatic injuries such as car accident
Falling with the arm out
Joint disorders such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
An elbow dislocation can be complete or partial. A partial dislocation is called a subluxation and a complete dislocation that involves total separation is called luxation. Doctors classify elbow dislocation into 3 types depending on the severity of the damage:
Simple – When there is no major injury to the bone.
Complex – When there is a severe injury to the ligament and bone.
Severe – When the nerves and blood vessels around the elbow are damaged.
Some signs and symptoms of elbow dislocation are:
Severe pain in the elbow
Inability to bend the arm
Numbness in hand
No heartbeat felt in the wrist
Weakness in the joint
Arms look deformed
Some of the risk factors that could lead to an elbow dislocation are –
Pinched or trapped nerves
Pinched or trapped arteries
Avoid situation that makes you fall
Do not fall on your overstretched arm
Doctors may ask you to get an X-ray done to see if the bone is injured. They may recommend getting an MRI or CT scan done to check the damage surrounding the muscles or tendons.
There are various treatments to get an elbow dislocation right.