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Justin Houston Elbow

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Elbow Dislocation Explained

For those of you Chiefs fans out there, you know that on November 24th 2013, Justin Houston dislocated his elbow during the game. The outside linebacker has had an MRI revealing ligament damage typical of an elbow dislocation.


Dr. Clint Walker at Kansas City Bone & Joint Clinic, who is Board Certified in Orthopedic Surgery with additional specialty certification for Hand Surgery, describes more information regarding elbow dislocations:


“Elbow dislocations involve tearing the ligaments around the elbow and the elbow bones coming apart or ‘popping out of socket’. Elbow dislocations may also have fractures of the surrounding bones. Elbow dislocations that have fractures are much more likely to need surgery to stabilize the elbow joint. Most elbow dislocations without fractures do not require surgery but take time for the ligaments to heal.”


Dr. Walker also goes on to say how it is important to protect the elbow during the healing period so that it does not dislocate again. He notes, “Elbows get stiff very quickly after any injury or surgery, so we often start some type of gentle, protected range of motion to try to minimize the stiffness. Hinged braces are very helpful for this, as they allow motion but provide good support to the elbow joint. It is also important to know any injury involving the joint surface has some risk of forming arthritis over time due to the traumatic injury.”


Time, protection and rest will hopefully get our KC Chiefs linebacker back in the game soon.  For more information regarding Houston’s status:


Written by: Amy M Roberts, MS ATC/L

Kansas City Bone & Joint Clinic