Elbow Osteoarthritis

What is Elbow Osteoarthritis?

The elbow is one of the most complex joints on the human body. At the joint, three bones (the ulna, humerus and the radius) meet to enable the hand to perform the complex tasks it can do. At the joint, there is cartilage covering the bones, which prevent the bones from rubbing directly against each other.

When this protective cartilage wears out or gets damaged, osteoarthritis of the elbow occurs.

Elbow Osteoarthritis

What is Elbow Osteoarthritis?

The elbow is one of the most complex joints on the human body. At the joint, three bones (the ulna, humerus and the radius) meet to enable the hand to perform the complex tasks it can do. At the joint, there is cartilage covering the bones, which prevent the bones from rubbing directly against each other.

When this protective cartilage wears out or gets damaged, osteoarthritis of the elbow occurs.

Causes and Symptoms of Elbow Osteoarthritis

Causes 

Here are some causes of this condition:

  • Previous elbow injuries like dislocation of the elbow or even a fracture
  • Previous surgery to correct a problem in the elbow joint
  • Injured joint ligaments which destabilize the elbow
  • Physically demanding outdoor activities

Symptoms

The common symptoms of elbow osteoarthritis are:

  • Stiffness and pain when moving the elbow
  • Swelling at the elbow

How is it diagnosed?

Physical Examination

Your doctor will assess your symptoms and examine the elbow for stiffness and loss of function. Your doctor may also have to assess the other joints.

Imaging tests
An X-ray or CT scan may be done to determine the degree and severity of your elbow condition.

Upon the results of your exam/tests, the specialist will then discuss with you the possible treatment options that suits your condition.

Elbow Osteoarthritis

How is it diagnosed?

Physical Examination

Your doctor will assess your symptoms and examine the elbow for stiffness and loss of function. Your doctor may also have to assess the other joints.

Imaging tests
An X-ray or CT scan may be done to determine the degree and severity of your elbow condition.

Upon the results of your exam/tests, the specialist will then discuss with you the possible treatment options that suits your condition.

Elbow Osteoarthritis

Treatment Options

There are various treatment options for arthritis in the shoulder, such as medication, lifestyle changes (such as daily activities and exercise) or physiotherapy. However, if your condition has worsened, surgery may be recommended.

Discuss with an Orthopaedic Surgeon to determine which treatments are most suitable for you.

Keep in mind that if your condition requires surgery, your Orthopaedic Surgeon should always educate you on:

  • Risks of the surgery
  • How to prepare for a surgery
  • What will be required for post-op care

Physiotherapy 
Targeted strength and flexibility exercises can help to alleviate pain and improve the function of the elbow.

Medications 
Medications may be prescribed to help manage your symptoms (e.g. anti-inflammatory, paracetamol)

Supplements 
Supplements can also help to reduce the pain and inflammation, as well as improve function in your elbow.

Joint Preservation Surgery
Keyhole procedures may help reduce the pain and improve the function of your elbow. This involves cleaning up the joint and removing bone spurs. 
Read More

Elbow Replacement Surgery 
In severe cases, the elbow joint has to be replaced with an artificial joint. 

Disclaimer

Shoulder | Elbow Orthopaedic Group does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians that are referenced in this article. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her Orthopaedic Surgeon.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

CONTACT US

Get a consult from Shoulder | Elbow Orthopaedic Group