Elbow Arthritis

Elbow Arthritis is a condition characterised by the inflammation of the elbow joint, leading to pain, stiffness, and difficulty in movement. It is usually a result of wear and tear of the joint over time, a condition known as osteoarthritis, but can also be a consequence of an autoimmune disorder, known as rheumatoid arthritis.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of elbow arthritis include:

  • Persistent pain in the elbow
  • Difficulty in bending or straightening the elbow
  • Swelling around the elbow joint
  • A feeling of warmth in the elbow
  • Decreased range of motion

Diagnosis

To diagnose elbow arthritis, medical professionals may use:

  • Physical Examination: The doctor will assess the mobility of the elbow and look for signs of swelling or pain.
  • Imaging Tests: X-rays or MRI can provide a clear image of the elbow joint, helping to confirm the diagnosis.
  • Laboratory Tests: Blood tests may be conducted if an underlying disease, like rheumatoid arthritis, is suspected.

Prevention

Preventative measures to reduce the risk of elbow arthritis include:

  • Regular exercise to maintain joint flexibility
  • Maintaining a healthy weight to reduce stress on joints
  • Proper technique during physical activities to avoid injury
  • Use of protective gear when engaging in high risk activities

Treatment

Several treatment options are available for elbow arthritis, such as:

  • Physiotherapy: This involves a set of exercises designed to improve elbow mobility and strength. It can also include other treatment modalities such as heat, ice, and electrical stimulation.
  • Medication: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids can be prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Injections: In severe cases, a doctor may inject corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid directly into the elbow joint to reduce inflammation and improve joint lubrication.
  • Surgery: If conservative treatments are unsuccessful, surgical procedures such as elbow arthroscopy, synovectomy, or elbow joint replacement may be considered to reduce pain and improve joint function. Each of these procedures involves different methods and recovery times, and should only be considered after a detailed discussion with your healthcare provider.