Joint Preservation for Arthritis

Although the elbows are not weight-bearing joints, they are considered to be most important for the functioning of the upper limbs. Hence, even minor trauma or disease affecting the elbow may cause pain and limit the movements of the upper limbs. Arthritis is one of the common disease conditions affecting the elbow joint.

There are several types of arthritis, the most common being:

  • Osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease is the most common type of arthritis that affects older people. It causes the cartilage, the tissue that cushions and protects the ends of bones in a joint, to wear off causing painful rubbing of bones.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy joints, tissues and organs. It can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, deformity and loss of function in joints.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis develops after an injury to the elbow. The condition may develop years after the trauma such as a fracture, severe sprain or ligament tears.

Treatment can include conservative options such as medications and steroid injections to relieve pain, activity modification, and use of splints. Surgery is usually considered if non-surgical treatment fails to give relief. The various types of surgical treatment include:

  • Synovectomy: It is the removal of the soft membrane lining of the elbow joint.
  • Arthroscopic Debridement: It is the removal of debris, necrotic tissue, or loose bodies from within the elbow joint.
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