Management of Dislocations of the Elbow in the Athlete

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The elbow is the second most commonly dislocated large joint and occurs with more frequency in sports men and women than in the general population. Understanding the normal anatomy, the mechanism of injury and the pathoanatomy of the injury to the soft tissue restraints about the elbow are important for obtaining a good result. Most elbow dislocations are stable once reduced and may be treated conservatively. However, if the elbow remains unstable then surgical treatment of the medial and lateral collateral ligament complexes is recommended. Repair using tensionable anchors allows the surgeon to tension both medial and lateral sides sequentially in a controlled manner, and allows assessment of range and stability during the tensioning process. Once stability to the elbow has been restored, early active mobilization can be initiated, with the aim of returning to sport as soon as possible.

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