A dislocated elbow is a painful injury that can make it difficult to use your arm for an extended period of time. This injury can be the result of many accidents, such as a slip and fall, fall from height or a car crash.
If you suspect a dislocated elbow, it's imperative to seek immediate medical attention. Your doctor can examine your elbow, test for additional injuries and explain your treatment options.
Medical treatment typically consists of putting your dislocated elbow back in place. Since this is a painful procedure, medication is typically administered before the reduction occurs.
From there, your doctor will do the following:
- Request another X-ray to ensure that the elbow is back in place
- Put your elbow in a splint to prevent movement
- Put your elbow in a sling to hold your splint in place
There is no way of knowing how long it will take for a dislocated elbow to heal, as it varies from person to person. For example, if you have collateral damage, such as a ligament tear, you'll face an extended recovery period.
In most cases, a dislocated elbow heals to the point of making a full recovery. After resting the injury for three to five days, your doctor will provide a list of exercises to help regain range of motion and strength.
If you suffer a dislocated elbow on the job, report the injury to your employer. Doing so in a timely manner is important, as it'll help when applying for workers' compensation benefits. If approved, the money you receive will give you financial peace of mind during your recovery.