Your elbows may be the last place you’d expect to get arthritis, but these joints are vulnerable to the pain and stiffness of arthritis, just like other joints.
Osteoarthritis can affect one or both of your elbows, and make your daily activities very painful and difficult. Take note, however, that there are ways for you to manage elbow arthritis so you can improve your quality of life.
At Peninsula Orthopedic Associates, our professionals are experts in the many different types of arthritis that can affect your body. Our team has a roster of orthopedic specialists who offer a number of treatment options to get your elbow pain under control.
What is arthritis of the elbow?
Arthritis is an umbrella term for over 100 conditions that affect the joints throughout your body. While there are many different kinds of arthritis, osteoarthritis is the most common.
Osteoarthritis develops in a joint when the thick, protective cartilage wears down, causing inflammation and pain in your elbow joint. This can occur due to injury or trauma within the joint.
Another common form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, affects the lining in your joint. This protective lining is known as the synovium, and it allows your joints to move smoothly. This form of arthritis causes your immune system to mistakenly attack the lining in your elbow joints.
Whether you have rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, it’s important to get treatment as soon as possible. While arthritis isn’t reversible, proper care from our team may help you slow down the progression of these conditions.
Signs of elbow arthritis
You can’t know when to seek treatment unless you recognize what to look for when it comes to arthritis in your elbow. Depending on the severity of your condition, your symptoms may include:
- Loss of movement
- Grinding or grating sensation
- Joint swelling
- Numbness in the fingers
Pain may affect not only your elbows, but your wrists and shoulders as well. This is especially true if you’re suffering from rheumatoid arthritis in your elbows.
The pain may be constant, or flare up only when you straighten or bend or elbow. Your joint may also feel unstable, like it’s moving around in an abnormal way.
Any of these symptoms may indicate that you have arthritis in your elbows. While it may seem like you’ll never get relief, there are options to help you manage your discomfort.
5 treatments that can help
At our facility, our orthopedic specialists come to a diagnosis of elbow arthritis through a physical exam and X-ray imaging. Once you’re diagnosed, our team offers several treatment options to help you manage your condition.
When you have elbow arthritis, getting your pain under control is your top priority, along with slowing the progression of the disease. Here are five common ways to manage arthritis in your elbow:
In the early stages of elbow arthritis, over-the-counter medications may alleviate your pain. This includes anti-inflammatory medications, which decrease swelling and discomfort in your joint.
2. Physical therapy
Physical therapy is another way for you to manage the symptoms of elbow arthritis. Our expert team assists you with exercises and stretches that help to decrease your pain and increase the motion in your elbow joint.
3. Activity modification
Osteoarthritis in your elbow is sometimes caused by overuse of the joint. If a particular activity seems to cause you pain, try to limit that movement. Continuing that activity may damage your joint further.
4. Steroid injections
Corticosteroid injections offer relief from elbow arthritis by reducing the disorder’s swelling and inflammation. The relief from pain may last for weeks to months after the injection.
When other types of conservative measures don’t seem to help, our team may recommend surgical intervention. Surgery can help you get relief from the pain and immobility from arthritis.
Our team offers several types of surgery, including elbow arthroscopy and synovectomy. The type of surgery depends on your symptoms and the type of arthritis you have.
If you have elbow pain, don’t hesitate to call our conveniently located office in Daly City, California, at 650-756-5630, or book an appointment online with one of our doctors today.