Exercises for an Elbow Dislocation

Man flexing near coast
Exercises to help heal an elbow dislocation. (Image: Thinkstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Suffering an elbow injury the magnitude of a joint dislocation can be very painful and debilitating. Most patients will need to undergo some form of physical therapy in order to fully recover from this injury completely and appropriately. By following a few simple elbow exercises, you can decrease the amount of recovery time needed to bounce back from an elbow dislocation. Before starting any exercise treatment program, be sure to speak to your doctor.

Range of Motion Exercises

One of the main anatomical uses of the elbow joint is to increase and define your arm’s range of motion. After suffering an injury like a dislocation of the joint, your elbow can lose this range and become rigid or stiff. According to chiropractor Kim D. Christensen's, writing on the Council of Chiropractic Physiological Therapeutics and Rehabilitation website, exercises to increase and maintain the range of your elbow is vital to complete injury healing. One example of an exercise you can do at home to maintain elbow range of motion involves simply flexing and extending your arm at the elbow. Depending on the severity of your injury, this movement can be done at a slow or rapid pace contingent on pain level. This constant joint movement can help prevent joint freezing and maintain a healthy blood flow through the affected area.

Elbow Strengthening

Keeping the muscles surrounding your elbow joint strong is essential to preventing a repeat dislocation in the future. As Christensen states in her article, elbow strength can be increased by incorporating resistance with normal movements of the forearm and elbow joint. This resistance can range from free weights to gravity, again depending on the severity of your injury. An example of a strengthening exercise you can do at home involves taking a light free weight or hefty household item and curling your forearms towards your chest. This motion will not only strengthen your elbow joint stabilizer muscles but also increase strength in your biceps and triceps in the upper arm.

Elbow Stretching

Keeping the muscles in the elbow and forearm limber and loose is also important to not only healing from an elbow dislocation but also in the prevention of future injuries. As the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma states, one example of an effective elbow stretch can be completed at home and in just a few minutes each day. While standing, raise your injured arm straight in front of your body, fingers stretched. With your opposite hand, grasp the wrist of your injured arm and push the hand of that arm down, leading to a wrist flexion. Hold this position for 5 seconds before releasing in a slow, controlled manner. This movement can be done many times throughout the day.

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