Elbow Arthritis

Elbow arthritis is a fairly common elbow disorder. Fortunately, most cases of elbow arthritis can be treated nonoperatively as the elbow is a joint where the symptoms of arthritis tend to be less severe than in other areas (like the shoulder, hip or knee). The condition is common in people who do heavy labor or work and in athletes with heavy upper extremity demands (football players, weight lifters, baseball pitchers, etc.). Most often elbow arthritis leads to mild pain with decreased range of motion. The mainstay of treatment for elbow arthritis involves anti-inflammatory medications (advil, alieve, etc) or cortisone injections. Sometimes, physical therapy or specialized bracing programs can be used to restore motion in the elbow. Surgical treatment for elbow arthritis ranges from arthroscopic procedures (to remove bone spurs and loose bodies) to larger ‘open’ procedures and even elbow replacement.

Elbow Arthritis Diagram

In the special case of rheumatoid arthritis, the above statements and treatment plans generally apply. Additionally, procedures such as synovectomies (removing the lining of the elbow joint) can be used to control symptoms and prevent progression of the disease. End-stage rheumatoid disease in the elbow remains the most common reason to undergo total elbow replacement (arthroplasty). Elbow replacement offers reliable pain relief and improvement in motion for patients with end-stage arthritis. Dr. Walker will discuss your options with you in the office and together you can make the best decision based on your symptoms.

Elbow Osteoarthritis on X-Ray