Inability to fully extend the injured elbow: an indicator of significant injury

Arch Emerg Med. 1991 Dec;8(4):253-6. doi: 10.1136/emj.8.4.253.


Elbow injuries are commonly seen in accident departments. Patients with possible bony injuries to the elbow were assessed to see if inability to fully extend the elbow was a good indicator of bony injury and hence the need for X-ray. The sensitivity of this test was 90.7% (95% confidence limits 80.7-100.7) and the specificity 69.5% (95% confidence limits 60.3-78.7). Use of this simple test would reduce both radiography costs and unnecessary exposure to radiation.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Elbow Injuries*
  • Elbow Joint / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiography
  • Range of Motion, Articular*
  • Triage
  • Wounds and Injuries / diagnostic imaging