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Woman with pain in elbow, joint inflammation on gray background.
Medically reviewed by Dr. Nic Gay, MD and Dr. Kerisimasi Reynolds, MD

Elbow Dislocation Orthopedic Treatment

Separation of the joint surfaces of the elbow indicates that the elbow is dislocated. The most likely cause of an elbow dislocation is some form of trauma, usually resulting from an accident. There are two types of elbow dislocation: partial and complete. A partial dislocation means the joint surfaces are partly separated. You may hear the term “subluxation” being used to describe a partial elbow dislocation. If you have a complete elbow dislocation, the joint surfaces are completely separated.

A reduction maneuver is used to realign the joint surfaces when a patient dislocates an elbow. The procedure is carried out gently and slowly after the patient has been given sedatives and pain killers. Once the elbow reduction has been done, further treatment for the elbow injury is necessary to ensure that the elbow remains aligned.

In the case of a simple elbow dislocation, keeping the elbow immobile is achieved through the use of a splint. This stage of treatment usually lasts from 1-3 weeks. Leaving the elbow immobile for a longer period of time can negatively affect its range of motion permanently. Physiotherapy is often recommended to ensure a full recovery from a dislocated elbow.

If an elbow dislocation is complex, surgery is the next step in restoring as much normal function and range of movement as possible. Dr. Nic Gay and Dr. Masi Reynolds are both accomplished orthopedic surgeons with the experience and skills to provide excellent treatment at Silicon Valley Orthopaedics.

Symptoms of a Dislocated Elbow

When a patient suffers from a complete elbow dislocation, there is no doubt that a visit to Silicon Valley Orthopaedics is necessary. The arm will likely appear deformed, with the elbow twisted at an unusual angle. However, if the elbow has suffered a partial dislocation, the symptoms are not as obvious. The most noticeable sign is not the function of the elbow, but any pain experienced when moving the joint.

If the ligaments around the partially dislocated elbow are unable to repair, the chances of recurrence are high. If you continue to experience pain when moving your elbow long after an accident or injury, seek an examination from Silicon Valley Orthopaedics right away.

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