The elbow joint displays an elegant balance between stability and mobility. While allowing a wide range of motion, the joint has an inherent stability that requires a considerable force to dislocate. As a result, a significant percentage—approximately one third of elbow dislocations—are associated with fractures of bony components of the elbow. Dislocations without associated fracture are termed simple, while dislocations with accompanying fracture are termed complex.
Dislocations of the elbow fall in frequency just behind dislocations of the finger and shoulder. Most commonly, the elbow dislocates posteriorly. Immediate reduction is essential to reduce the risk of neurovascular or cartilaginous complications.
Anteroposterior radiograph of the elbow demonstrates the normal anatomy.
Lateral radiograph of the elbow demonstrates the normal anatomy.