How to Prevent Arthritis in the Elbow

How to Prevent Arthritis in the Elbow

Posted on 06/29/20

Arthritis of the elbow can cause pain when you straighten or bend your elbow. Carrying things, such as a briefcase, can be quite difficult. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common cause of this problem. It is a disease of the synovia or joint linings. Injuries and osteoarthritis can also cause arthritis of the elbow joint.

Rheumatoid arthritis, for instance, causes the joint linings to swell up, which causes the space between them to narrow. The condition slowly destroys the soft tissues and bones. In most cases, it affects both elbows and other joints such as the shoulders, wrists, and hands.

Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, affects the cushioning cartilage located on the ends of your bones. These cartilages allow for the smooth movement of your joints. Due to the destruction caused by osteoarthritis, the bones start rubbing against each other, thereby increasing degeneration.

Injury or trauma can also lead to the destruction of the cartilage of your elbow joint. This can subsequently lead to the development of elbow pain or elbow arthritis. Common symptoms of arthritis of the elbow include pain, stiffness, swelling, locking of the elbow joint, and elbow joint instability. You may also have difficulty flexing or extending your elbow and rotating your arm.

How to Prevent Elbow Arthritis

The elbow joint suffers fewer injuries than most other joints in the body. Dislocations and fractures are the most common elbow joint injuries. Most of these injuries, however, tend to heal quite well. Unfortunately, some injuries can lead to serious problems later in life. They can change the way the elbow joint works, which can cause wear and tear to the joint surfaces. Eventually, the elbow joint degenerates, causing difficulty and pain while performing normal activities.

To prevent elbow arthritis, you should avoid prolonged work with certain tools and repetitive elbow movements. You should also avoid keeping your elbow in the same position for a prolonged period. You need to take frequent breaks to stretch and take your shoulder, wrist, and elbow joints through their full range of motion.

If you have a history of an elbow dislocation or injury to your elbow joint, the risk of developing elbow arthritis increases. It is important to undergo surgery to reconstruct the elbow joint or repair the injury. Injury to the elbow joint ligaments due to an unstable elbow can also cause osteoarthritis, even if the surface of your elbow is undamaged.

In some people, no injury to their elbow joint occurs. Outside activities and work can cause arthritis of the elbow if you place more demand on your elbow joint than it can handle. Some professional baseball pitchers, for example, place too much demand on their throwing arm. This can lead to injury to their stabilizing ligaments. When this happens, they may end up requiring surgical reconstruction.

One of the best ways to avoid or prevent elbow arthritis is to protect yourself from elbow-joint injuries. However, if you do suffer an injury, you should recognize it immediately and seek appropriate treatment. People involved in sports activities and heavy work should maintain or increase muscular strength around their elbows. This requires the use of proper technique and conditioning.

To learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of elbow arthritis, call us at 510.904.1100. You can also visit our East Bay Hand & Upper Extremity office in Oakland, California.


Please contact us today to schedule an appointment or get more information about our hand and upper extremity surgical services.