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What is Elbow Arthritis?

  • While arthritis usually affects the weight-bearing hip and knee joints, in uncommon cases it can affect the elbow.
  • Elbow arthritis can occur because of a previous injury such as an elbow dislocation or fracture.
  • Degenerative arthritis or osteoarthritis is caused when the smooth, white tissue lining the ends of each bone, called the articular cartilage, breaks down.

How do you know if you have Elbow Arthritis?

  • Symptoms can include elbow pain, loss of motion, inflammation, and stiffness.
  • Some patients describe a locking sensation caused by loose pieces of cartilage or bone becoming trapped.
  • X-ray images may be needed to confirm the diagnosis.

What are the treatments for Elbow Arthritis?

  • Nonsurgical options historically included rest, modified activities, weight loss, medication, and physical therapy.
  • The definitive treatment for arthritis is arthroscopic debridement or joint replacement surgery.
  • Many patients are not prepared to undergo surgery, and in that case, there are a number of strategies to help manage pain until the patient is ready or the disease has progressed to a severe enough point that warrants surgery without delay. The goal of treatment is to control the pain. Medication, bracing, physical therapy, and cortisone injections can be prescribed. Boston Sports and Biologics offers less invasive alternatives to surgery including PRP injections and autologous stem cell injections. Learn more about alternatives to surgery here.