Elbow Arthritis and Elbow Joint Replacement

Institutes & Services > TriHealth Orthopedic & Sports Institute

Elbow arthritis can usually be managed with a conservative approach that includes medication and therapy. But if your elbow arthritis demands more serious care, TriHealth Orthopedics & Sports Institute is here for you. We offer a wide range of treatments, from resurfacing options to total elbow replacement (and we’re one of the few in the city to offer this complex replacement surgery).

Elbow Arthritis and Elbow Replacement Surgery

Elbow arthritis (also called osteoarthritis of the elbow) occurs when the cartilage of the elbow joint wears out or becomes damaged. While arthritis is a common condition among older individuals, elbow arthritis is not as common as arthritis in the knee or hip joint.

Elbow arthritis causes

The most common cause of elbow arthritis is normal wear and tear from age. It can also be caused by injury, such as a fractured or dislocated elbow.

Elbow arthritis symptoms

Symptoms of elbow arthritis include:

  • Locking or grating sensation in the elbow
  • Pain
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Swelling

Elbow arthritis treatment

Your doctor will work closely with you to create a treatment plan that helps relieve your symptoms.

Conservative treatment options for elbow arthritis

If you have arthritis in your elbow, conservative treatments can help you find relief. These include:

  • Lifestyle modification – You may need to adjust your activities to help reduce pain and inflammation in your elbow joint.
  • Anti-inflammatory medicine – Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medicine or prescription strength anti-inflammatory medicine to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Injections – Corticosteroid injections and other injections can help reduce inflammation and help relieve pain caused by elbow arthritis.
  • Bracing – A brace can help stabilize the forearm, reducing unnecessary movement on the tendons and help reduce inflammation.
  • Physical therapy –A certified occupational or therapist will teach you exercises to reduce pain and strengthen muscles along the arm, forearm, wrist and hands.

Surgical treatment options for elbow arthritis

If a conservative approach doesn’t relieve your pain and symptoms continue to interfere with your daily activities, your doctor may recommend surgery. Surgical options include:

  • Arthroscopy of the elbow – This procedure removes loose bodies and bone spurs in the elbow joint
  • Elbow resurfacing surgery (interpositional arthroplasty) – During surgery, the ends of elbow joint of reshaped and a small section of soft tissue (usually the Achilles tendon) is fitted between the joint.
  • Synovectomy – Surgery to remove the synovium (membrane lining the joint) can help relieve pain and swelling in the elbow joint.
  • Total elbow joint replacement – Not everyone is a good candidate for elbow replacement surgery. As one of the few institutions that offer this complex surgery in the region, the surgeons at TriHealth Orthopedics & Sports Institute developed a unique approach to identifying individuals most likely to benefit from surgery.

During an elbow replacement surgery, your surgeon will replace your elbow joint with two implants that attach to the bones in your arm. These two implants form the new joint. It’s important to follow the care plan before, during and after your elbow replacement. This includes participating in hand therapy and limiting physical activities, such as not lifting more than 10 lbs.

Elbow arthritis risk factors

You may be at higher risk of developing elbow arthritis if you:

  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have a family history of arthritis
  • Move your forearm repetitively for two hours a day
  • Trauma to the elbow
  • Use tobacco

Elbow arthritis prevention

You can’t completely prevent developing arthritis, but you can take steps to reduce your risk:

  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Strengthen muscles, including arm, forearm and wrists

Schedule an appointment

TriHealth Orthopedics & Sports Institute is here to help you feel your best so you can enjoy the activities you love. Call us today at 513 246 7846 to learn more about treatment options for your elbow arthritis.

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