Adult Dislocated Elbow (no fracture)

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What has happened?

  • You have dislocated your elbow - meaning that your elbow joint has temporarily slipped out of place
  • This is a relatively common injury and it usually does not require surgery

What should I expect?

  • Your elbow will have been put back into place by ED staff and put in an arm brace at a right angle, and you will also be given a sling for comfort
  • You may experience pain and swelling in your elbow and down your arm - this is normal
  • You arm will be immobilised in a brace for 5-10 days. After this time, you will be in a arm brace for approximately 3 to 4 weeks which will allow movement of elbow joint.

What should I do?

  • Take regular pain relief (e.g. paracetamol and ibuprofen) as needed
  • Keep your fingers moving as often as you can
  • You may find it more comfortable while sitting or sleeping to prop your arm up on 1-2 pillows

What should I not do?

  • Avoid heavy lifting while injured
  • You may be unable to drive at this time

Will I be followed up?

  • Yes, a follow-up appointment in the Orthopaedic Clinic will be requested when you leave ED and you will be contacted regarding a date and time
  • At this appointment you may be instructed to start simple exercises

What if I have concerns/questions?

  • If your injury is not settling or you have other concerns, you should see your GP in the first instance - take your ACC form/number with you
  • Please seek medical attention if you experience
    • Numbness or tingling in the injured arm or hand
    • Increasing pain in your arm or hand