More than 54 million Americans have arthritis. There are nearly 100 types of arthritis, but they all share some key similarities. Arthritis is a degenerative condition that makes joints stiff, swollen, and painful, and it can affect nearly any joint in the body, including the elbow.
Elbow arthritis can severely limit your mobility and quality of life, but our team at Upper Extremity Specialists, of Ortho 1 Medical Group, is committed to helping you live with less pain.
Kristopher Downing, MD, & James Andry, MD specialize in nonoperative orthopedics and regenerative orthopedics for elbow arthritis. So if you’ve noticed elbow pain getting worse, you’ve come to the right place.
Signs and symptoms of elbow arthritis
The most common joint disorder in the United States is arthritis. And the most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis, with about 33 million people living with this wear-and-tear disease.
The bones in your joints are naturally protected by a sturdy, slick substance called cartilage. Cartilage covers your bones and keeps them from grinding against each other when you move, but it deteriorates with years of use.
Osteoarthritis develops when cartilage wears away and bones begin grinding together. It may start with mild symptoms and get worse as the joint deteriorates further.
Common symptoms of elbow arthritis include:
- Grinding or locking sensations
- Reduced range of motion
- Warmth around the joint
In more severe cases, elbow arthritis can cause numbness and tingling in your ring or pinky finger.
Although anyone can develop elbow arthritis, it’s more common in people who have a history of elbow injuries, including fractures, dislocations, and ligament damage. Your risk of developing elbow arthritis may also be higher if you have surgery to repair an injury.
Treatment options for elbow arthritis
There’s no cure for arthritis, but seeking treatment now can reduce your symptoms and help prevent joint deterioration from worsening.
Dr. Downing and our team take a comprehensive approach to treating elbow arthritis. When you come to Upper Extremity Specialists, we examine your elbow to determine the severity of your arthritis. We also review your medical history and any treatments you’ve tried in the past, so we can develop an effective treatment plan for the future.
A few of the most effective treatments for arthritis are:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Joint injections
- Lipoaspirate therapy
- Physical therapy
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections
Anti-inflammatory medication and joint injections can reduce inflammation and swelling. Physical therapy can help you build strength and improve your range of motion. Regenerative medicine, such as PRP injections and lipoaspirate therapy, engages your body’s natural healing abilities to restore healthy tissue.
Depending on your needs, Dr. Downing may recommend a combination of treatments for maximum relief. Arthritis requires ongoing care, so we continue monitoring your symptoms and adjusting your treatment plan as needed.
If you have elbow arthritis and want treatment, or if you want to see if you have elbow arthritis, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Upper Extremity Specialists today.