Dislocation of the elbow

Complete traumatic disruption of the elbow joint usually results in the radius and ulna being displaced laterally to the humerus (lateral luxation) This occurs because the medial condyle of the distal humerus is larger, preventing the radius and ulna from moving medially. The clinical picture is that of complete instability of the joint with deformity. The animal holds the leg in abduction with external rotation. The level of pain evidenced by the animal is quite variable but seems to diminish with time. Palpation of the limb reveals a large prominent medial condyle with loss of normal features on the lateral aspect.

Radiographs in two views prove the diagnosis and may rule in or out additional fractures.

Lateral (A) and cranial-caudal (B) views of a lateral luxation of the elbow joint

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