The Seattle Sounders’ May 20 game against Real Salt Lake was both a win and a loss for the team. While the Sounders were able to secure a 1-0 victory, Will Bruin, one of the team’s top scorers, fell to the ground after jostling with a Real player for a ball in the corner just before the end of the game. It was clear right away that Bruin was in severe pain. While Bruin’s injury was initially downplayed, it was later discovered that he had dislocated his elbow. Depending upon the severity his injury, Bruin could be out for anywhere from two to five weeks.
Dislocated elbows, like the one Bruin suffered, are often the result of a fall onto an extended arm. Signs of a dislocated elbow include swelling and pain in the elbow. There may also be muscle pain or an inability to move the elbow joint. At times, the elbow may even look deformed.
Because other elbow injuries may display similar symptoms, it is important to see a doctor right away if you experience any of these symptoms. The doctor may perform a physical examination of the injured elbow. If needed, an x-ray, MRI, or CT scan may be performed on the elbow. The sooner you see a qualified doctor after the injury, the better.
While surgery is sometimes required for a dislocated elbow or another elbow injury, often it can be treated non-surgically. Your doctor will likely have you immobilize the elbow by placing it in a splint and sling. You will be advised to rest the elbow for several weeks. Icing and elevating the elbow may help to reduce pain and swelling. Anti-inflammatory pain medication can also be taken to reduce swelling and pain.
It may be difficult to wait for your injured elbow to heal, especially if you are an athlete eager to return to playing, but it is important for you to wait for your doctor to clear you for regular activities.