During the early stage of elbow arthritis due to osteoarthritis, patients follow conservative measures to decrease pain and maintain elbow functioning.
Avoid doing any activities that may aggravate the elbow pain. Take enough rest.
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.
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 . Hence physicians do not recommend its consumption every day for a prolonged duration.
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 .
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.
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.