Elbow Dislocation

Elbow dislocation is seen in both children and adults and is usually caused by a fall onto the outstretched hand. In children it is more common than dislocation of the shoulder [2].

Examination may reveal obvious deformity of the elbow. The triangular relationship of the epicondyles and olecranon will be disrupted. It is important to check the distal neurovascular status of the limb due to possible damage to the brachial artery or median and ulnar nerves.

The dislocation is most commonly in a posterior or posterolateral direction and will be confirmed on x-ray, along with the presence of any associated fractures. Associated epicondylar fractures and fractures of the lateral condyle are known to occur in children.

Click on the x-rays to enlarge.

Fig 1: This lateral view clearly demonstrates posterior dislocation of the elbow. Note the associated fracture fragment. Fig 2: The AP view of the same injury illustrates some lateral displacement.