You have options for dealing with pain in your elbow if you are in the Arlington, VA area.
Elbow arthritis occurs when the cartilage of the elbow wears away due to age, injury, or activity. When the cartilage thins out, pain develops in the elbow as the ulna and radius bones rub against the humerus bone when you bend your arm. Arthritis of the elbow can make everyday activities very difficult to handle. If you find it painful to carry a hamper, lift the groceries, swing a hammer, or pick up your kids, you might be dealing with arthritis in your elbow. The professionals at OrthoBethesda can help you diagnose and then treat carpal tunnel syndrome and other ailments that may cause pain in your arm, wrist, and in your elbow. Contact us to get relief today.
All About Elbow Arthritis
The symptoms of elbow arthritis include the following:
- Tingling in the elbow
- Numbness in the pinky and ring fingers of one or both hands
- Extensive pain when you extend or rotate your arm
- A feeling of snapping or clicking in the arm
- Difficulty moving your arm
- The joint gives out or locks up when you try to move it
- Symptoms that seem to be worse on the exterior of the elbow
Causes of Elbow Arthritis
Elbow arthritis may be caused by any of the following:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Juvenile arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
Diagnosing Elbow Arthritis
The only way elbow arthritis can be diagnosed is by making an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon at OrthoBethesda. We need to conduct a physical examination of your symptoms. We will look for swelling, redness, bruising, and other signs that arthritis could be present in your elbow. We will also manipulate your arm in various directions to see how well or how poorly you can move it. X-rays, MRIs, and other imaging tests might be ordered to get a better look inside the arm.
The Best Treatment Options for Your Elbow Arthritis in Arlington, Virginia
Whether your pain just began or you’ve been living with it for years, there are treatment methods available for your sports injuries, physical conditions, and osteoarthritis. Our orthopedic specialists at OrthoBethesda will develop a patient-specific treatment plan of care for you after a thorough examination and a litany of imaging tests.
Reduce Activity to Relieve the Pain
It might be a good idea to reduce your activity levels for a period of time to see if this helps the pain subside. If you are used to playing tennis or golf multiple times per week or work in an industry where you constantly lift things, you should scale back your activity levels. This might not solve your elbow pain issue completely but it will help your doctor get a sense of what’s causing your pain. Use ice and heating pads off and on every day to reduce swelling and pain.
Nonsurgical Treatment Options
There are a handful of nonsurgical treatment options available to help you reduce pain and swelling in the elbow joint. These include the following:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Cortisone shots
- Elbow splints and braces
What if Surgery is Necessary?
If any of the previously mentioned, nonsurgical treatment methods are unsuccessful, or only relieve a little bit of your pain, there are surgical options that include the following for your elbow injury:
The doctor makes multiple small cuts around the elbow joint in order to remove damaged bone, tissue, or cartilage. The doctor will also be able to smooth out rough areas of the bone. This surgery has the quickest recovery time due to the tiny incisions.
In the most severe instances of elbow arthritis, the doctor might recommend the replacement of the elbow joint. This is done with the insertion of an artificial joint.
The doctor will make multiple large cuts around the elbow joint in order to remove damaged areas of the synovium, which is the lining of the elbow, or to remove any bone spurs.
Advantages of Arthroscopy Surgery
Arthroscopy surgery brings with it many advantages over the other surgical treatment options available, including the following:
- Smaller incisions
- Minimal soft tissue trauma
- Less post-operative pain
- Faster healing time for your condition
- Lower infection rate
Caring for Yourself Post-Op
Your surgeon will issue you the following instructions for care after your procedure for elbow injuries:
- Get ample amounts of rest
- Reduce swelling by putting pillows under your elbow to raise it above your heart
- Properly clean and dry the incision area
- When the wound dressing has been removed you can wear a compression sock that extends from the hand to the armpit
- You will be prescribed pain medication based on your condition
- Healing can be promoted by not smoking and eating a healthy diet
If you develop a fever or infection in the area of the wound, be sure to call us immediately about your injury. Do not wait until your condition worsens to speak with your doctor. Be sure to use prescribed medications appropriately for osteoarthritis, injuries, and pain management.
Once the surgery has been completed you will require recovery time. You won’t be able to do much with the arm that endured the operation but it won’t be permanent. Once you are given the all-clear by your surgeon you can begin physical therapy. This will help you regain motion and strength in the arm that underwent surgery.
Schedule an Appointment at OrthoBethesda Today to get Relief for Your Elbow Pain
If you have been suffering elbow pain that does not go away with rest and ice, it’s time to schedule an appointment to have it investigated. You do not have to let elbow arthritis and pain rule your life. If you are accustomed to an active lifestyle, our team can help you regain that lifestyle with the proper surgical treatments or physical therapy. Call a specialist in Arlington, VA today at (301) 530-1010 to schedule an appointment and find the right treatment options for you.