Rondo rakes over Heat despite major injury

Boston Celtic Rajon Rondo really showed what kind of stuff he is made of yesterday during  a pivotal Game 3 of the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals.  In the 3rd quarter, Rondo was fouled by Miami Heat Dwayne Wade. The two got tangled up together and crashed onto the floor. Rondo landed awkwardly on his left arm, dislocating his left elbow in the process. Although he was taken off the court to be examined by team physician Dr. Brian McKeon, he returned at the end of the  quarter, with his left arm wrapped in a protective sleeve. Although he was obviously favoring his left arm, it didn’t stop him from landing 2 right-handed shots, and his return to the floor invigorated his teammates to beat the Heat 97-81.

The elbow is a joint where three bones come together. Your upper arm contains one long bone called the humerus and your lower arm contains two long bones called the radius and the ulna. The pointy tip of your elbow is actually part of the ulna and this part is called the olecranon. The close part of the radius bone that makes up part of the elbow joint is called the radial head. Three ligaments (sturdy connective tissue bands) help hold the bones together : the ulnar collateral ligament, radial collateral ligament, and annular ligament.

Elbow dislocations are not common,  constituting 10% to 25% of all injuries to the elbow, and typically occur when a person falls onto an outstretched hand. When the hand hits the ground, the force is transmitted to the elbow. This force causes a turning motion which can drive and rotate the elbow out of its socket. Elbow dislocations also happen in car accidents when the passengers reach forward to cushion the impact. Similar to a fall, the force is sent through the arm and can dislocate the elbow.

Depending on the severity, an elbow dislocation can injure not only the joint, but the bones, muscles and ligaments of the elbow as well. In the most severe cases, the blood vessels and nerves may also be involved. Symptoms include severe pain and the elbow may look deformed.

An elbow dislocation is considered a medical emergency and the dislocation should be realigned as soon as possible. This can often be done in an emergency department with the patient given sedation and pain medications. Afterwards, the arm is immobilized in a splint or sling for two to three weeks, followed by early motion exercises.

 

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

1 Comment

  1. Peter Ricci

    May 8, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Hi Dr M
    I had a similar injury early in my sporting life. I kept playing, however today I can no longer straighten the joint. I have been to Doctors and they say there is calcification of the joint which has pretty much shut off being able to fully extend the arm.

    The doctors have told me surgery is very complicated to that area and I am best just to try to live with it. It does still cause pain if I hyperextend it.

    It hasn’t got worse over the years, its just uncomfortable, will it get worse and do you think I should go through with the operation?

    Regards Peter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real Time Analytics Google Analytics Alternative