Arthritis (Elbow)

Introduction

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.

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