Arthritis (Elbow)

  • Introduction

  • Conservative Treatment

  • Surgical Treatment

The elbow is the primary joint that connects the forearm to the rest of the upper arm and shoulder. It allows for the ability to perform basic activities such as getting dressed, lifting and throwing objects, combing one’s hair etc. The elbow is held together by ligaments while tendons attach muscles to bones and pull on the bones, allowing the elbow to bend. When degeneration of the elbow occurs, and there is wearing down of the cartilage, it is known as elbow arthritis.

There are several variations of elbow arthritis with the two most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition known to destroy cartilage, which allows the elbow to glide smoothly. Arthritis can develop as the result of wear and tear, following trauma to the elbow or through genetic predisposition. Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition resulting from an autoimmune disease which causes the body to attack the lining of the joint, instead of protecting it. Both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis produce symptoms of pain, swelling, stiffness, damage to the joint, and loss of range of motion.

Nonsurgical treatment is the mainstay treatment for early stages of arthritis. Ceasing or modifying strenuous activity that cause arthritis helps reduce pain. Anti-inflammatory medications, bracing and other medications can help treat the symptoms of arthritis. Corticosteroid injections are also very effective in reducing swelling and pain.

Our Physicians whom specialize in conditions of the hand and upper extremity

When conservative treatment measures are exhausted, surgery may be indicated. Surgical options include arthroscopic procedures or open procedures to clean up the join, or resurface it. Numerous types of surgery are available so your surgeon is able to tailor your surgery to your specific needs. Ultimately, a total elbow replacement can be performed for end-stage elbow arthritis. This procedure is tailored for very specific patients and is less commonly performed than total knee and hip replacements.

Our Physicians whom specialize in conditions of the hand and upper extremity

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