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Professional weight lifter Hossein Barkhah's performance took a serious turn for the worse at the 2003 World Weightlifting Championships. While trying to lift a 157.5 kilogram- (347 pound-) weight over his head, he wrenched his arm out of its socket. Ouch!

What causes an elbow injury like Barkhah's? Ligaments (tough bands of tissue) normally hold together the bones in joints like your elbow. But an extreme force (push or pull) can cause the bones to hyperextend (increase the angle between the bones)--stretching or tearing the ligaments like a rubber band pulled too far. Dislocations like Barkhah's occur when the bones slide all the way out of position. "It takes a lot of force to dislocate a joint," says Dr. Tal David, physician for the San Diego Chargers. Barkhah was trying to lift more than twice his body weight! His bones moved so far out of place that his humerus (upper arm bone)--normally tucked safely in the joint--pressed right up against his skin.

If no bones are broken, doctors can usually pop the elbow joint back into position by extending the patient's arm straight. But it's no treat. "We often have to sedate patients because the muscles are in spasm, and the patients are in a lot of pain," says David. It usually takes about six weeks for the joints to completely heal. But Barkhah also broke a bone in his elbow. So his doctors say it will take about three months for his elbow to heal.
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Title Annotation:You Can Do It
Author:Norlander, Britt
Publication:Science World
Date:Mar 8, 2004
Words:249
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