4 Things You Should Know About Arthritis in Your Elbow

Arthritis in Your Elbow

You do not have any idea how important the joints in your elbows are until they become compromised with pain and/or limited mobility. This complex hinge in your arm consists of the humerus, radius and ulna bones and three different articulations working together: the proximal radioulnar joint, radio capitellar joint and the ulnohumeral joint. These allow for the flexion, extension and forearm rotation necessary for placement of your hand in daily activities.

When the elbow joint is irritated, simple movements you take for granted every day become difficult, or even impossible. Arthritis pain can be disabling as well as incredibly painful. Early diagnosis and treatment of elbow pain can make your life considerably more enjoyable. Here are a few things of which you may be unaware regarding arthritis and your elbows.

Early Diagnosis is Important
Our society has a “no pain, no gain” mentality. People regularly push through their pain unaware that their body is trying to tell them something, sometimes shouting at them with screeching pain. If you are not aware that you have arthritis and you ignore the pain, you may do serious damage to your joints before getting help. Early diagnosis is critical.

When you notice elbow pain, especially if it is intense and/or unattributable to an injury, seek medical help. Arthritis in the elbow causes pain and stiffness. Swelling is often present as well, and bending or straightening your arm becomes more difficult. Some individuals may also find it difficult to rotate the forearm.

Loose Bodies Can Cause Pain
Arthritis can cause small fragments of bone or cartilage to float around the elbow. These are called loose bodies. They not only cause pain and swelling, they can also cause the joint to lock or catch. These fragments can occur as a result of injury, tumors and other health conditions other than arthritis. This is another reason why early diagnosis is important. The pain you feel could be due to another underlying issue.

Injury or Trauma Can Lead to Arthritis
When you have an injury to your elbow, after it is healed, you may think all your troubles are over. They could be, then again, you may have trouble with arthritis in the future. When you injure your elbow such as sustaining a fracture or dislocation, the cartilage could be damaged. Sometimes an injury will cause a change in the mechanics of the joint. These new movements may increase the wear and tear on the cartilage, and it degenerates faster than normal.

Injury to the ligaments around the elbow joint can also cause arthritis. When they are injured and create a situation in which the elbow becomes unstable, even though the cartilage is not involved in the injury, the change in the normal forces are altered. This change can cause the joint to wear out prematurely.

Repetitive motions that place more demands than normal on the elbow joint can also lead to arthritis. Where such motions when done every now and then do not usually cause a problem, strenuous motions that require more than normal use can. This is the case with professional baseball pitchers who are constantly using that joint in their throwing arm. Stabilizing ligaments can fail, and surgery may be required to repair the damage. Over time, unusually demanding forces on the joint can lead to cartilage damage.

There Are Different Types of Arthritis

People often talk about their arthritis flare-ups; however, not everyone realizes that there are actually over a hundred different types of arthritis. There are also other health conditions related to arthritis. What they all have in common is inflammation of the joints and significant pain.

Osteoarthritis is the most common type. This degenerative arthritis affects more than 27 million people. Rheumatoid arthritis is another, affecting about 1.5 million adult Americans; the majority of these people are women. Juvenile arthritis affects children and includes several types of arthritis.

Gout is one of the most painful types of arthritis. More men than women suffer from gout, which affects nearly 4% of the adults in this country. While it usually affects the joint in your big toe, it can also affect other joints, including your elbow.

Silicon Valley Orthopaedics is known for providing pain relief for those suffering with elbow arthritis through effective treatment. Before your pain gets worse or you lose mobility, give us a call and schedule an appointment. We have successful treatment options focused on conservative therapies for providing relief from arthritis and other conditions.

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