Johan Larsson ended 2016 in a less-than ideal way. The Buffalo Sabres hockey forward crashed into the boards early in the New Year’s Eve game against the Boston Bruins, dislocating both his wrist and elbow. Originally, Larsson’s coach was unsure how long Larsson would be out, but it was soon determined that Larsson’s injury would require surgery, and he will be unable to play for the rest of the season.
While Larsson’s double injury did require surgery, wrist and elbow dislocations can often be treated non-surgically. The doctor will likely do a physical examination of the injured area to get an idea of the extent of the injury. X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs may then be needed to determine if surgery is required.
If surgery is not required, the doctor will likely immobilize the affected area by placing it in a sling or splint. In some cases, the injured area might be placed in a cast once the swelling has gone down. The injured area will likely be immobilized for several weeks. During that time, you will need to elevate and ice the injured area.
Your doctor may also have you take an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the swelling and the pain. While your wrist or elbow is immobilized, it is important to rest the injured area. Do not attempt to do physical activities until your doctor has cleared you.
Once your elbow or wrist has been immobilized for several weeks, your doctor will look over the injured area to make sure it has healed properly. At that time, your doctor will determine if further care is required. If the injury is not healing properly, surgery may be required. Even if the injury has healed well, your doctor may have you do physical therapy to help you regain full range-of-motion in your wrist or elbow.
Early diagnosis of either a dislocated wrist or elbow is important. Because of that, be sure to visit a qualified medical professional right away if you suspect that you have dislocated either one.