An elbow dislocation occurs when the bones of the forearm (the radius and ulna) move out of place compared with the bone of the arm (the humerus). The elbow joint, formed where these three bones meet, becomes dislocated, or out of joint.
An elbow dislocation should be considered an emergency injury. The goal of immediate treatment of a dislocated elbow is to return the elbow to its normal alignment. The long- term goal is to restore function to the arm.
Historically, complex elbow injuries had poor outcomes. However, with standard treatment protocols and a better understanding of the injury patterns, outcomes have significantly improved. Although patients may not regain a full range of motion, patients can expect to regain a functional range of motion in their injured elbow. One of the most common complications of any elbow injury is stiffness. This problem may occur in both simple and complex injuries. However, with restoration of stability range of motion, exercises can be started early decreasing the risk of residual pain and stiffness.