Elbow Dislocation

ExitCare ImageAn elbow dislocation happens when your elbow bones move out of their normal place. This injury is caused by falling on an outstretched arm. Your doctor will put your elbow bones back in place. A splint or sling will be placed around your elbow. Some elbow dislocations need surgery. After surgery, your elbow may be protected with a device called an external hinge. The external hinge keeps your elbow from dislocating again when you move it.


  • Rest your injured joint. Do not move it.

  • Exercise your hand and fingers as told by your doctors.

  • Put ice on your injured joint for 1 to 2 days or as told by your doctor.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 15 to 20 minutes, every 2 hours while you are awake.

  • Raise (elevate) your arm above your heart as told by your doctor to help limit puffiness.

  • Only take medicines as told by your doctor.


  • Your splint becomes damaged.

  • You have an external hinge, and it becomes loose or will not move.

  • You have an external hinge, and you see yellowish-white fluid (pus) around the pins.

  • Your pain becomes worse, not better.

  • You lose feeling in your hand or fingers.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.