Elbow stabilisation

What is it?

You might require treatment if you have instability of the elbow. This means that the elbow is either sliding partially or completely out of socket. This can be caused by a previous injury or in rare cases with no obvious injury.

Typical symptoms usually include clicking, snapping, clunking or locking of the elbow. This will happen when the elbow is moved or force is placed on the elbow e.g. when pushing up on a chair on standing.

Diagnosis and treatment options

Your consultant will examine you and ask you to demonstrate certain movements to check how well your elbow is working.

You might need some additional tests:

  • X-ray
  • Ultrasound scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

Surgery will restore stability to the elbow and prevent painful arthritis developing in the future. It involves reattaching the ligament that is torn or by using an artificial ligament to support the elbow joint.

The procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic (meaning you are asleep for the procedure) as a daycase which means you can go home the same day. A programme of physiotherapy is recommended for approximately six weeks afterwards and although normal daily activities are recommenced after three weeks, sporting activities are normally restricted for up to three months.

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