Elbow dislocation

Revision as of 08:10, 31 December 2013 by ManpreetS2006 (talk | contribs) (Links to video/review articles)


  • Usually due to FOOSH
  • 90% are posterolateral
  • Median and ulnar nerves may be injured
  • "Terrible Triad" injury describes unstable joint consisting of:
    • Elbow dislocation
    • Radial head fracture
    • Coronoid fracture

Clinical Features

  • Elbow held in 45 degree of flexion; olecranon is prominent posteriorly
  • Swelling may be severe


  • Imaging
    • Look for associated fractures (esp of coronoid and radial head)
    • Lateral: both ulna and radius are displaced posteriorly
    • AP: lateral or medial displacement w/ ulna/radius in their normal relationship


  • Reduce via longitudinal traction on wrist/forearm w/ downward pressure on forearm
  • Immobilize in long arm posterior mold w/ elbow in slightly less than 90deg flexion


  • Obtain emergent consult for irreducible dislocations, NV compromise, associated fx
  • Simple dislocation requires ortho f/u within 1 week

See Also