Stressed Elbows Are More Likely to Develop Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is common as we age, especially in weight bearing joints like the hips and knees. Even though elbows are the least likely joint to succumb to this often painful condition where the cartilage deteriorates, they're not immune. Prior elbow injuries are the usual culprit that cause elbow arthritis. The ligaments surrounding overworked elbows tend to destabilize over time, resulting in more wear and tear on the elbow cartilage. Professional baseball pitchers and tennis players, and people doing hard physical jobs often complain of elbow problems related to osteoarthritis.

Earlier Symptoms:

  • Pain 
  • Loss of range of motion
  • Grating
  • Locking

Later Symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Numbness in outside two fingers

Conservative treatments include physical therapy, activity modification, pain medications, corticosteroid injections, and joint fluid improvement injections. There are many surgical options for those who do not improve after trying conservative treatments: arthroscopy, elbow replacement, contracture release, and surface renewal are among the most successful.