At Shoreline Orthopaedics, our orthopaedic surgeons use a truly collaborative approach so our patients have the benefit of multiple expert opinions, without having to go elsewhere to obtain them.
Shoreline Orthopaedics provides more comprehensive services, state-of-the-art options, technologies and techniques than anyone else in the area.
The following information is provided to help you understand what you can expect from us regarding policies and procedures, and also what is expected of you before and after treatment or procedures.
Elbow arthritis is a common cause of elbow pain and stiffness, but is less common than arthritis in other joints of the body. Arthritis is the loss of the normal protective cartilage that covers the bones. When this cartilage or "padding" of the bone breaks down and is lost, areas of raw bone become exposed. When large areas of bone are exposed, they grind against each other with standing and walking. This is "bone on bone" arthritis and is usually painful.
Elbow pain, limited motion, and weakness are all common symptoms of arthritis. Other symptoms may also occur, depending on the type and severity of the disease, location in the body, and other factors. In osteoarthritis of the elbow, the first sign may be pain and stiffness moving the elbow. Pain and stiffness in the morning is typical, and in advanced cases, joint pain may even wake you up at night. Additional symptoms may include a sensation of grating or grinding (crepitation) that is felt in the affected joint as damaged surfaces of cartilage rub together. If the arthritis is caused by damaged ligaments, the joint may feel unstable or loose.
To diagnose arthritis of the elbow, and the category of disease, your physician may use a variety of diagnostic tools, including patient history, physical examination, blood tests, and X-rays. When X-rays appear normal but arthritis is still suspected, an MRI can show more detail.
There are several options for nonsurgical treatment of arthritis, depending upon: how far the disease has progressed; how many joints are involved; your age, activity level and other medical conditions; whether or not the dominant hand is affected; your personal goals and home support structure; and your ability to understand your treatment and comply with a therapy program. Following a prescribed exercise program can also help improve strength and range of motion in the affected joint.
When nonsurgical treatment does not provide the desired outcome, a variety of surgical options may be considered. For elbow arthritis elbow arthroscopy or other minimally invasive procedures may help improve motion and relieve pain. For advanced arthritis, total elbow replacement surgery can greatly improve symptoms. Elbow replacements are typically reserved for older individuals who do not plan to put significant stress on the elbow. The appropriate option will depend on a variety of factors, including: the severity of disease; other medical conditions; and your age, goals, activity level, and home support structure. Your orthopaedic surgeon will review surgical treatments with you, and discuss which ones offer the highest potential for long-term relief of pain and allowing you to return to normal activity.
Following surgery, a trained therapist will help you maximize your recovery. The length of time needed for recovery varies, depending on the extent of the surgery and individual factors. Most people are able to return to most, if not all, of their daily activities about three months after major joint reconstruction.
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