When people hear the word “arthritis,” most of us picture difficulty with a knee or hip. Other people might think about pain and loss of function in the hands. Far fewer people hear this word and think, “I could get arthritis in my elbow.” But getting arthritis in your elbow can happen, and if it has happened to you, it might help you to know a little more about the specifics of this type of arthritis.
How do you get arthritis in your elbow?
Arthritis in the elbow can come in two basic forms: rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Of the two, rheumatoid arthritis is more common. This type of arthritis occurs when the immune system starts mistakenly attacking the lining of the joints. These attacks cause long-term joint inflammation, and the inflammation can cause cartilage breakdown, swelling and pain in your joints, including the elbow.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t develop osteoarthritis in the elbow, because you can. Osteoarthritis develops as the cartilage in a joint wears away naturally as the body ages, and this type of elbow arthritis is very common for certain people. Tennis players make repetitive arm and elbow movements, and these repetitive movements can lead to elbow osteoarthritis. Also, factory and assembly line workers might use certain repetitive movements while doing their jobs. In turn, these work-related movements can increase the risk of developing elbow osteoarthritis.
What symptoms does elbow arthritis cause?
Getting arthritis in your elbow can lead to many different symptoms, but the most common symptom is pain in the elbow. With rheumatoid arthritis, this pain typically starts on the outside of the elbow. Rheumatoid arthritis of the elbow also tends to cause more pain when the forearm is rotated. However, elbow osteoarthritis pain tends to increase when you bend your elbow, and it tends to worsen over time as the cartilage in the elbow continues to wear away.
Pain might be the most common symptom of elbow arthritis, but there are other symptoms you might feel as well. An example would be the elbow swelling that rheumatoid arthritis sufferers typically experience. Both types of elbow arthritis also tend to make the joint more unstable, and this can make it much harder to do routine daily tasks. In addition, patients with osteoarthritis might feel a catch in the elbow as it moves, and you might also experience times when your elbow locks in place.
Can you get help with elbow arthritis? You can at Continuum Wellness
Our Continuum Wellness team has lots of experience helping patients with the symptoms of elbow arthritis. Our first step will be to have you come in for a free screening. This allows us to examine you firsthand and helps us determine what arthritis symptoms you’re dealing with. Using this information, our team can then create a personalized therapy plan to meet your needs, and your plan can include multiple therapy techniques such as:
- Manual therapy
- Therapeutic exercises
- Joint mobilization
- Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM)
Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment to begin treating your elbow arthritis symptoms.