Elbow sprains & Dislocations

The most common elbow sprain involves the medial ligament, similar to the medial ligament injury in the knee. It is usually a minor injury in a football player, although complete ruptures may occur. Medial ligament injuries are most common in throwing sports such as in baseball.

A sprained medial ligament usually results in patients losing full extension (straightening) of their elbow. This may only be a limitation in the short term (1-2 weeks), however if not treated well, some patients end up with a fixed flexion deformity i.e an elbow that has permanently lost full extension.

If a full ligament rupture is suspected, an MRI is recommended. If the patient is active (football, throwing etc), surgery may be required. After surgery, patient will be braced for up to 6 weeks with active recovery following over the next 6-8 weeks.

A dislocated elbow is a gruesome sight and difficult to relocate on the field. A dislocation is a medical emergency as blood vessels and nerves may be damaged. Patients must seek medical aid as soon as possible. Fortunately they rarely recur and have a short recovery period.
Xray elbow dislocation
Xray demonstrating an elbow dislocation.