When the surface of the cartilage in your elbow is damaged or has become worn down, you may develop osteoarthritis of the elbow. This is often a result of having a previous elbow injury such as a fracture or a dislocation. Arthritis may also set into the elbow joint because of age-related degeneration of the cartilage.
Arthritis in your elbow can be painful, but relief is available through proper treatment.
Signs You May Need Arthritis Treatment
A variety of symptoms may occur with elbow arthritis. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Pain in your elbow
- Stiffness in the elbow joint
- Limited range of motion in your elbow
- Scraping or grating sensation in elbow
- Locking or instability of your elbow
- Swelling in the elbow
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, you should seek arthritis treatment to prevent further damage from occurring to your elbow.
Nonsurgical Options for Elbow Arthritis
Most orthopedic surgeons will start by taking a conservative approach to treat your elbow arthritis. The surgeon will develop a treatment plan based on several factors, including:
- Prior injuries to your elbow
- Your current health status
- Amount of joint deterioration
- Results from X-rays or MRIs
If your elbow arthritis is at an early stage or appears treatable through nonsurgical methods, the orthopedic surgeon will advise treatments to reduce your pain and inflammation.
Treatments may include:
- Resting your elbow and avoiding activities that cause discomfort
- Using ice packs to reduce swelling and numb pain in the elbow
- Placing heat packs on your elbow to improve circulation, soothe pain and relieve stiffness
- Taking NSAIDs over the counter medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce inflammation and relieve pain
- Physical therapy to help improve and maintain your elbow’s range of motion and strengthen your arm
Surgery to Treat Your Elbow Arthritis
When nonsurgical interventions fail to relieve your elbow pain, it may be time to consider surgery. The type of surgery that will be recommended will be based on the amount of damage in your elbow.
If there is limited damage, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend arthroscopy to remove the damaged cartilage or any loose pieces of cartilage or bone that may be present. In some instances, bone spurs may have developed in the elbow joint and can be removed through arthroscopic surgery. With arthroscopy, you will have smaller incisions and a shorter recovery period than traditional surgery.
If the arthritis damage to your elbow is advanced, your orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgery to replace your elbow joint. This surgical option can provide a dramatic improvement in restoring function and eliminated pain in your elbow.
Orthopedic Surgeon for Arthritis Treatment
Dr. Howard Marans of OCOrthopedic+ has treated patients throughout Orange County for over two decades. The Doctor will develop a treatment plan to treat your painful elbow arthritis that best fits your needs. Please click below to schedule your consultation or call us at 714.979.8981.