A dislocated elbow occurs when the bones that make up the joint are forced out of alignment — typically when you land on an outstretched hand during a fall. The elbow is the second most commonly dislocated joint after the shoulder in adults, and the most commonly dislocated joint in children.

Toddlers may experience a dislocated elbow, sometimes known as nursemaid's elbow, if they are lifted or swung by their forearms.

If you or your child has a dislocated elbow, seek immediate medical attention. Complications can occur if the dislocated elbow pinches or traps the blood vessels and the nerves that serve the lower arm and hand.

A dislocated elbow can usually be realigned without surgery. However, if your elbow is also fractured, you might need surgery.

April 03, 2015