CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
In adults, the most common causes of a dislocated elbow include:
- Falls. Falling onto an outstretched hand can pop the upper arm bone out of alignment within the elbow joint.
- Motor vehicle accidents. The same type of impact can occur when passengers in motor vehicle accidents reach forward to brace themselves before a collision.
In young children, the injury often occurs when an extra pulling motion is applied to an outstretched arm. Examples include:
- Improper lifting. Trying to lift or swing a young child by the arms can cause the elbow to dislocate.
- Sudden pulling. Having the child suddenly step off a curb or stairstep as you're holding his or her hand can pull the elbow out of alignment.
- DeLee JC, et al. DeLee & Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine: Principles and Practice. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-3143-7..X0001-2--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-3143-7&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed April 4, 2012.
- Elbow dislocations and fracture-dislocations. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00029. Accessed April 4, 2012.
- Roberts JR, et al. Clinical Procedures in Emergency Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/202633129-4/0/2083/0.html#. Accessed April 4, 2012.