The 2016 Rio Olympics: Elbow Dislocations
Significant Injuries Throughout The Games
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about weight lifting? Exercise, getting in shape, and building muscles are all some pretty common ideas. But when you think about Olympic weight lifting, that idea changes. You probably start to think about humans lifting incredible amounts of weight all for sport.
When the body is trained specifically to hoist hundreds of pounds overhead on a bar, you would hope that all the bodies structures are conditioned enough to do so safely.
During this year’s summer Olympics, Armenian weightlifter Andranik Karapetvan was attempting to clinch the bronze medal in the clean and jerk with a second lift of 195kg (429 pounds). Sadly, the 20-year old’s chances were cut short when his left elbow gave out after he pressed the weight overhead. Andranik suffered a dislocated elbow and was rushed to a nearby hospital by medical staff.
An elbow dislocation occurs when the bones of the forearm (ulna and radius) move in position in relation to the bone up the upper arm (humerus). This is a really uncommon injury, and is usually the result of a high impact fall or velocity such as a car accident.
There are three classifications of dislocations:
Simple: no bony or soft tissue damage
Complex: can have severe bone and ligament damage, including fractures and ruptures of soft tissue structures.
Severe: possibility of blood vessel and nerve damage; can result in loss of the arm.
Elbow dislocations of any severity are a medical emergency. Proper early treatment is essential for regaining proper function of the arm. Simple dislocations can be treated non-surgically with a procedure called a reduction. The patient is sedated and the joint is manipulated back into place. They will rest in a sling for a few weeks after the injury and begin physical therapy to promote strength and range of motion.