Elbow pain is no laughing matter, with more and more people in the UK experiencing it on a daily basis. Pain in your elbow can make it hard to carry on as normal, and can even affect your livelihood. Joint pain is experienced by both men and women of all ages, and there are a number of different factors that can cause it. It is important, therefore, to know about different elbow treatment in order to minimise pain.
Causes of elbow pain
The elbow is made up of three long bones, and there are a number of conditions that can affect these bones and cause pain in the elbow. Your elbow consultant will tell you that the cause of the pain in your elbow usually affects the severity of the pain as well.
The most common causes of elbow pain straining it when you move, sports injuries and sleeping on it the wrong way. Elbow pain is most commonly found in office workers who sit at a computer all day, for example.
There are also various elbow conditions that can cause pain, and these include:
#1 Elbow Arthritis
There are two main types of elbow arthritis: osteoarthritis (caused by wear and tear) and inflammatory (where the body’s defence mechanism attacks its own joints). We usually find elbow arthritis in patients aged 50 and over who are experiencing an increase in stiffness and pain. Sometimes the pain comes on quite suddenly after an injury, and may increase due to a restriction in movement.
#2 Golfer’s Elbow
This is a really common condition caused by a degeneration of the muscles which attach to the outside of the elbow joint. Patients are usually between 40 and 60 and are having trouble lifting and dripping items. They may also experience some swelling as well and occasionally present with tingling and numbness in the fingers.
#3 Tennis Elbow
More common than Golfer’s Elbow, Tennis Elbow is similar in that it is caused by degeneration of the muscles which attach to the outside of the elbow joint and is usually seen in patients between the age of 40 and 60. They may begin to feel pain when lifting items such as their kettle, for example, and this pain will gradually increase over time. They may also experience some swelling as well.
Treating elbow pain
It is a good idea to go and see a consultant orthopaedic hand and wrist surgeon if your elbow pain becomes severe. You want to make sure that the underlying cause of the pain is accurately diagnosed, and that you are provided with the best course of treatment to alleviate the pain.
There are many different treatments available for elbow pain, and these include:
Over the Counter Pain Killers
If your elbow pain is not severe, you may choose to treat it with over the counter pain killers, which are available at most pharmacies or supermarkets. The ones that will relieve your pain the fastest are those with anti-inflammatories in them.
Some people find that ice packs help to relieve the pain and also minimise swelling at the same time. Use it three to four times a day for 15 to 20 minutes as needed.
You can try alternating your ice packs with heat packs as these can help minimise pain and swelling as well. Use once or twice a day for between 10 to 15 minutes.
If the pain is not relieved by over the counter treatments, then the next step would be to try a steroid injection, using a long-acting steroid such as Depomedrone or Triamcinolone, which should help dampen down any inflammation. This is successful for every patient, but it does tend to work on around 70 to 80% of them.
If the elbow is so painful that you can’t stretch it out, then your surgeon may suggest a splint to help straighten it out. These don’t tend to be used much for elbow treatment though.
There are various surgery options available to help with elbow pain, and these include elbow arthroscopy, elbow replacement and open elbow debridement.
Elbow arthroscopy is more commonly known as keyhole surgery and it allows the surgeon to look in the elbow joint by using a special telescope. They can then confirm the diagnosis, and remove any loose body or unnecessary tissue (if there is any).
Elbow debridement is most successful in patients with rheumatoid arthritis than those with elbow osteoarthritis. The surgery is done under general anaesthetic and uses a single incision in the back of the elbow to allow the surgeon to remove excess soft tissue and bone.
Full elbow replacement is where the surgeon will replace your elbow with an artificial joint made from two implants that attach to the bones in your arm. They are joined together using a metal and plastic hinge.
If you think you may need elbow surgery then please get in touch with Mr David Murray by calling on 01204 416 186 or emailing him at email@example.com