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ELBOW ARTHRITIS                                         KANDIL NOTES


  • Elbow arthritis is characterized by degenerative changes to the elbow joint, including cartilage wear and tear, inflammation, and bone spurs

  • Usually affects the dominant arm

  • Up to 50% of elbow arthritis patients complain of ulnar nerve numbness in small and ring fingers

  • 80% of elbow arthritis cases occur in men


Most common risk factors include:

  • Previous Injury or trauma (post-traumatic arthritis)

  • Occupation (manual laborers)

  • Rheumatoid arthritis 

  • Osteoarthritis


  • Pain and tenderness around the elbow

  • Elbow stiffness and loss of elbow straightening or bending

  • Elbow swelling


  • Patients with mild to moderate elbow arthritis should try a course of conservative management 

  • First line treatment consists of rest, ice, anti-inflammatories

  • Avoid heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling

  • Corticosteroid injections to decrease inflammation and swelling

  • Resting splint

  • Physical therapy or stretching exercises to decrease stiffness

  • Patients with mild to moderate arthritis that fail conservative management may be candidates for elbow arthroscopy, debridement, and capsular release

  • Patients with moderate to severe elbow arthritis may be candidates for a total elbow arthroplasty


  • Avoid strenuous manual labor

  • Keep inflammatory arthritis under control

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