ComplicationsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Complications of a dislocated elbow may include:
- Pinched nerves. Rarely, nerves that travel across the elbow can become pinched or trapped between the dislocated bones or within the joint when the bones are realigned. This can cause numbness in the arm and hand.
- Trapped arteries. Also in rare cases, blood vessels that supply the arm and hand can become pinched or trapped between the dislocated bones or within the realigned joint. A lack of blood supply can cause severe pain and permanent tissue damage in the arm and hand.
- Avulsion fractures. In some elbow dislocations, a stretched ligament will pull off a tiny bit of bone from its attachment point. This type of damage is more common in children.
- Osteoarthritis. The dislocated joint may be at higher risk of developing osteoarthritis in the future.
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- 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.