Osteoarthritis of the Elbow

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The joints of our body are cushioned with a material called hyaline cartilage. With age, normal wear and tear of the cartilage takes place in most joints. Injuries to a joint or repetitive stress are also factors. The loss of cartilage can cause disability or deform the joint and bone spurs may develop. Over a period of time cartilage wears away and the thickened bones begin to rub against on another and wear away. This condition is known as osteoarthritis, or degenerative arthritis.

Symptoms Include:
  • Stiffness with limited motion after inactivity.
  • Grating or locking of the elbow.
  • Elbow pain that increase throughout the day.
  • Swelling which limits motion.
Non-surgical treatment
  • Rehabilitation will strengthen muscles, help reduce elbow pain and improve function.
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen, Motrin, Naprosyn and Celebrex may be used to decrease elbow pain. Be sure to talk to your doctor before starting these medications.
  • Cold therapy applied to the inflammation helps stimulate blood flow, and relieves the elbow pain associated with inflammation. Cold therapy should be applied several times over the course of the day.
  • A splint or brace to protect or immobilize the elbow.
  • Steroid injections to relieve elbow pain.
Surgical treatment
  • Arthroscopy to remove loose bodies and smooth
  • Total joint replacement.

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