Challenge of the Week / Shoulder & Elbow / 07.24.20

A 42-year-old male patient was playing soccer when he fell and tried to catch himself with his elbows bent. He felt a pop in his right elbow and has bruising and swelling of the posterior upper arm. He had difficulty pushing himself up and off of the ground. Which of the following is the most likely injury?
  • Elbow dislocation
  • While this can lead to pain and swelling in the elbow and difficulty pushing to get up, the mechanism for a dislocation would be a fall on an outstretched hand and not a fall on a bent elbow.

  • Rotator cuff tear
  • The patient felt a pop in the elbow and has weakness with elbow extension. A rotator cuff tear would lead to pain and difficulty raising the arm with the shoulder.

  • Biceps tendon rupture
  • A biceps tendon rupture would lead to anterior swelling and bruising and weakness with elbow flexion, not extension.

  • Triceps tendon rupture
  • The patient has weakness with active extension of the elbow and bruising on the back of the arm, which is consistent with a triceps tendon injury.

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