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Specialists in the Field of Elbow Osteoarthritis
Information About the Field of Elbow Osteoarthritis
What is osteoarthritis of the elbow joint?
Arthrosis or osteoarthritis refers to a degenerative, non-inflammatory change of the cartilage of the bone, more commonly known as "wear and tear". This condition is called elbow or cubital osteoarthritis if such degenerative changes take place in the cartilage of the elbow.
What are the symptoms of elbow osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis of the elbow causes joint pain. It can develop at different stages of joint motion: Pain at the start of movement, after extensive movement, with extra weight like carrying heavy objects or after completing a movement. From the affected joint, in this case the elbow, pain may radiate along the bones and to other joints. So in the case of elbow osteoarthritis, patients may also feel pain in the wrist or shoulder.
How is cubital osteoarthritis diagnosed?
To establish the presence of osteoarthritis of the elbow, the first step is a thorough interview with the patient to help evaluate the pain and other symptoms. Following this, function and resilience of the elbow joint are evaluated during the physical examination. Imaging procedures like X-rays , computer tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI ) may subsequently be performed. To identify osteoarthritis with imaging, certain criteria have to be met in order to make a definitive diagnosis. On top of that a blood test may be carried out. Since inflammatory signs are often missing, the patient's symptoms are the most influential factor in making the diagnosis.
What treatment methods are possible?
Treatment of elbow osteoarthritis is diverse and must be mutually managed by the physician and the patient. It is best to start with a non-medication therapy if possible. At this point the patient can already do a great deal on their own: Overweight should be decreased, the affected joint should be relieved of stress (for example, use a support when typing on the computer)and muscle strengthening and physiotherapy should be practiced. However, if acute pain is present then physiotherapy is not advisable. In fact, the opposite applies: the elbow should be cooled and kept elevated. To sum it up: In case of active arthrosis you should cool it down, in case of latent arthrosis you should warm it up.
Medications suitable for therapy are paracetamol and ibuprofen. Since these medications irritate the stomach a so-called proton pump inhibitor that protects the stomach should also be taken. Opioid painkillers such as tramadol can be used for more severe osteoarthritis pain.
If elbow osteoarthritis cannot be improved by conservative and drug therapy, cortisone shots are possible. For this purpose, cortisone is injected into the affected joint to unfold its effect at the source of the pain. However, this treatment should not be used on a long-term basis as cortisone has a number of side effects.
If all treatment options have been explored but the patient still experiences pain, the affected joint has to be surgically removed and replaced by a endoprosthesis . An operation is often performed for osteoarthritis of the hip and knee joints but less frequently for the elbow.
Which doctors are specialists in diagnosis and treatment?
There are specialists in shoulder and elbow surgery that treat elbow osteoarthritis. Such doctors mostly focus on degenerative diseases of the joints and can provide you with advice and support.
Let us help you find an expert for your condition. All listed doctors and clinics have been reviewed by us for their outstanding specialization in elbow osteoarthritis and are looking forward to your inquiry or request for treatment.
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