The elbow is a complex joint that connects the lower arm to the upper arm. It is composed of three main bones, namely the ulna, humerus and radius that join together to help you bend, rotate or straighten the arm. Elbow Arthritis is a painful condition causing damage to the cartilage that covers these bones. There are three major types of Arthritis that affects the elbow joint, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Post Traumatic Arthritis.
- Age-related wear and tear
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sports injuries to the elbow
- History of recurrent elbow injuries
- Elbow dislocation or fracture
- Intense pain and inflammation
- Difficulty bending or stretching out the arm
- Decreased range of motion
- Joint instability and weakness
- Locking or catching of the elbow
- Pain increase with movement or lifting
- To diagnose Elbow Arthritis, the orthopedic doctor will physically evaluate the joint to look for any visible signs of injury or damage.
- He may also ask you to move your elbow to analyze the range of motion.
- Certain imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRI scans, can also be helpful to evaluate the extent of damage caused by the condition.
Depending upon the type and severity of the condition, the elbow doctor may suggest the following treatment options:
Non-Surgical Approach Activity Modification: The patient may be asked to avoid indulging in activities that put strain on the joint. Taking adequate rest between periods of exercise can also help relieve pressure.
Anti-Inflammatory Medications: The orthopedic doctor may prescribe certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines to provide relief from pain caused due to Elbow Arthritis.
Heat Or Ice Packs: Applying hot pack on the affected joint can help relax and loosen the stiff muscles. Ice is usually effective to reduce swelling caused due to over-indulgence in activities.
Physical Therapy: Gentle stretching exercises, as prescribed by the physical therapist, may also help in easing pain. Elbow brace or splints can also be worn to provide support during any physical activity.
If the symptoms do not subside with non-surgical interventions, the patient may be recommended to undergo surgery. The orthopedic surgeon may decide on the surgery after considering the type of Elbow Arthritis, severity, activity requirements, patient’s fitness levels etc.
For complete diagnosis and treatment of Elbow Arthritis, visit OrthoTexas, Plano. To schedule an appointment with the orthopedic surgeons, you can call at (972) 985 – 1072.