Elbow Instability

Recurrent elbow instability is a complex problem that is troublesome for patients and continues to present management challenges to the general orthopedic surgeon and subspecialist alike. Instability that is recurrent is usually lateral in nature but can be medial or a combination.

Since the publication of Dr. O'Driscoll's original study on posterolateral rotatory instability of the elbow, significant advances in the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of recurrent instability have been made.

Our lab has since learned that deficiencies of the coronoid or radial head or both must be addressed and that the most important postoperative rehabilitation concern is to avoid the varus gravitational stresses that are applied to the elbow, such as when grabbing a beverage from the refrigerator.

Based on Dr. O'Driscoll's detailed laboratory studies combined with his extensive clinical experience with the elbow, he has devised an effective, functional coronoid fracture classification system that can help surgeons decide on the best course of action to treat posteromedial rotatory instability as well.