Alternative to Elbow Surgery

Elbow Arthritis due to Osteoarthritis? – Regenerative Treatment Can Help!

Have you been advised that your only treatment option for elbow arthritis is corticosteroid injections or joint replacement surgery? Hold on for a moment! Do not let these temporary methods affect your overall quality of life. Our minimally invasive painless regenerative therapy can help you get back to the routine life you love without surgery.

Before knowing the benefits of regenerative treatment in elbow arthritis, let us understand the condition of elbow arthritis in detail!

What is Elbow arthritis?

The elbow joint is made up of three bones, namely ulna, radius, and humerus. It has varied articulations such as ulnohumeral joint, radiocapitellar joint and proximal radioulnar joint. This combination of forearm rotation, elbow flexion, and elbow extension helps your hand to perform routine activities such as bending and straightening. 

When arthritis affects your elbows, you will experience pain and discomfort while performing regular activities. 

Rheumatoid arthritis

The most common cause of elbow arthritis is rheumatoid arthritis. It affects the joint linings, namely synovia. As the synovia swells, the joint space constricts followed by the gradual destruction of bones and soft tissues.

Osteoarthritis

Next comes osteoarthritis, which affects the cushioned cartilage at the ends of the bones. This cushioned cartilage helps in the smooth movement of the bones. If this cartilage gets destroyed, these bones will rub against each other. Additionally, loose bodies in the joint may accelerate degeneration.

Trauma 

Trauma or accidental injury to your elbow may damage the cartilage and leads to the development of arthritis condition.

The symptoms of elbow arthritis due to osteoarthritis may include:

    • Pain

Pain initiates gradually on the outer side of the joint. It worsens as you extend or rotate your arm. In the advanced stage, the pain will continue to be present during night-time or at rest during the daytime.

    • Swelling
    • Loss of range of motion – an inability to bend or straighten 
    • Stiffness
    • Instability
    • Catching/locking
    • Bone spurs
    • Bone grating
    • Numbness in the ring finger and small finger

Anyone can develop elbow arthritis due to osteoarthritis. But several people are more prone to develop this condition which includes:

    • Older people
    • Mid-aged people who regularly perform strenuous activities such as hammering or shovelling
    • People with a history of osteoarthritis or elbow fracture

During diagnosis, your physician will physically examine your elbow for noticeable signs of injury. You will undergo range-of-motion tests to check the mobility of your joints. Your physician may also opt for an X-ray to see if there is any crack or fracture. The loss of joint space shows cartilage loss. The physician will also opt for a blood test if you have rheumatoid arthritis. If it comes negative, he will consider your symptoms as elbow osteoarthritis. 

During the early stage of elbow arthritis due to osteoarthritis, patients follow conservative measures to decrease pain and maintain elbow functioning.

Activity restriction

Avoid doing any activities that may aggravate the elbow pain. Take enough rest.

Heat

If the elbow joint remains stiff, you can opt for heat pads followed by hot shower since heat helps in loosening joints as well as relaxing stiff muscles.

Splints and Braces

You can use customized resting splints and braces to help reduce swelling as well as provide support to your elbow.

NSAIDs administration

Your physician may prescribe NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling. But the long-term usage of NSAIDs in high doses may lead to complications such as gastrointestinal bleeding, gastric ulcers, as well as kidney damage [1]. Hence physicians do not recommend its consumption every day for a prolonged duration.

Corticosteroid injections

When all the above trials prove to be ineffective, physicians recommend a corticosteroid injection to get relief from pain. However, this relief is temporary, and the arthritis condition will continue to progress. They have potential side effects such as infection and skin degeneration at the elbow region [2].

Viscosupplementation (Hyaluronic acid injection)

Injection of hyaluronic acid into the joint may improve the quantity of joint fluid condition that enhances the range of motion. But it has a limited role in the elbow joints and requires further research to determine whether this injection is beneficial.

Surgery

If non-surgical interventions are unable to control symptoms, your physician may recommend surgical options such as synovectomy (removal of damaged synovium), arthroscopy (removal of damaged cartilage), osteotomy (removal of bone sections) and arthroplasty (elbow joint replacement) depending upon the stage of damage to your elbow joints. But many patients continue to experience symptoms such as tenderness, numbness, or limited range of motion post-operation. Post-surgical recovery can be painful, followed by a prolonged rehabilitation phase to restore your elbow strength and mobility.

 

Here comes regenerative cellular treatment that can be a potential alternative to elbow surgery in most instances. 

Regenerative cellular therapies are safe, minimally invasive, non-surgical same day procedures with minimal recovery time accompanied by no risk of rejection or disease transmission. You will be fully awake and can travel home within a few hours after undergoing regenerative treatment. This next-generation therapy improves your quality of life by starting the natural self-healing cycle at the injured body part, regenerating tissue, followed by permanent pain relief.

Regenerative cellular therapeutic options such as PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) therapy, prolotherapy, SVF (Stromal Vascular fraction) therapy and mesenchymal cell therapy proves to be efficient for treating several types of arthritis. They successfully treat the cause of elbow pain and not just the symptoms. Recent research studies have shown the efficiency of PRP therapy in treating elbow bones, ligaments, and tendon issues.

For elbow arthritis treatment, it is better to employ regenerative cellular treatment earlier so that it can significantly reverse varied types of joint impairments and symptoms.

It is always said, ‘No pain, no gain’. But when our holistic regenerative therapy is there, you can still gain without pain. So, get back on track without steroids or surgery!

If you feel you may benefit from regenerative therapies, please contact us at our London clinic on 020 8 168 2000 or our Ireland clinic on 01 298 8000 to book a consultation or request a callback today! We will take a close look at your case and evaluate if you are a qualified candidate for regenerative therapy.

 

References

  1. Cooper C, Chapurlat R, Al-Daghri N, et al. Safety of Oral Non-Selective Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs in Osteoarthritis: What Does the Literature Say? Drugs Aging. 2019;36(Suppl 1):15–24. doi:10.1007/s40266-019-00660-1.
  1. Brinks A, Koes BW, Volkers AC, Verhaar JA, Bierma-Zeinstra SM, “Adverse effects of extra-articular corticosteroid injections: a systematic review,” BMC MusculoskeletDisord, 2010 Sep 13;11:206. Review. PubMed PMID: 20836867; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2945953.

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Medica Stem Cells Benefits

Increased Function

Pain reduction

Most individuals do not experience extensive downtime

Minimal time off of work

No surgery

Minimal use of mobility tools (crutches, etc.)

Minimal disruption of regular routine

No rehabilitation

Medica Stem Cells Benefits

Increased function

Pain reduction

No pain Medication

Most individuals do not experience extensive downtime

Minimal time off of work

No surgery

Minimal use of mobility tools (crutches, etc.)

Minimal disruption of regular routine

No rehabilitation

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