Treatments for Arthritis of the Elbow
There are treatment options for arthritis of the elbow. Rest is the most important recommendation. For individuals suffering from elbow arthritis, overuse of the joint almost always worsens the symptoms. Many patients can live with the symptoms for years and will only need to take pain medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs and/or receive cortisone shots to help relieve elbow arthritis symptoms. Although, the effects of injects are temporary, they can provide pain relief for many months. Physical therapy exercises also help For those who experience chronic elbow arthritis symptoms and whose arthritis continues to worsen, surgery is available.
Arthritis in the very early stages can be controlled and treated with arthroscopic techniques, where small incisions are made in the elbow to perform the surgery. This surgery can be done on an out-patient basis, and recovery is reasonably quick. During this procedure, Dr. Peter Millett will trim out and remove the inflamed and degenerative tissue and loose bone within the joint. Arthroscopic treatment for elbow arthritis will not cure the arthritic condition, but it will prolong more drastic measures and relieve many of the symptoms for an extended period of time.
In more severe elbow arthritis conditions where elbow arthroscopic surgery may not be effective, joint supplementation or joint replacement may be recommended. These procedures have a very good reputation for offering pain relief, and often will restore motion. During these procedures, the joint surfaces are surgically replaced with prosthetic hardware that resembles the native joint. After the procedure the elbow will be immobilized for 4 weeks. Lifelong weightlifting restrictions will be necessary in order to protect the fixation of the implant.
Dr. Millett will need to perform a thorough examination of the elbow and determine the cause of the arthritis before a treatment plan is made. The recommended treatment plan will take into account patient goals and preferences in order to ensure the course of treatment is the right one for the patient.
For additional details on common elbow injuries, including arthritis of the elbow, please contact the orthopedic office of Dr. Peter Millett.