Arthritis of the elbow joint: causes, symptoms, diagnosis

The elbow joint is a complex mechanism of three simple joints (the humeroulnar, the humeroradial, and the proximal radioulnar joint), which provides the movement of three bones of the arm: humerus, radius and ulna. That is why, when at least one elbow joint affects arthritis (inflammation), it becomes difficult to move the hand or even impossible.

Like other types of arthritis, elbow arthritis sneaks up imperceptibly: at first it is hardly palpable discomfort in the morning, also arthritis often comes with colds. The pain passes quickly enough, and only a few people at the first stages of the disease turn to a doctor. Only when the arthritis becomes aggravated or goes into a chronic form, a person usually calls for medical help and undergoes a rather lengthy treatment. Most often, these are elderly people over 65: one in six at this age suffers from complications of ulnar arthritis.

Symptoms of arthritis of the elbow joint

Pain in the elbow joint in only 10% of cases means a symptom of arthritis. But you should not take risks without going through the diagnosis. Eliminating the disease is better than letting it develop, because inflammation can spread from the elbow to other joints.

Recognize the arthritis of the joints can be by pain, which differs depending on the cause of inflammation (dull and aching – with gouty arthritis, acute and stiffening movements – with rheumatoid arthritis). Also, local symptoms include swelling and redness of the skin, a local increase in temperature in the elbow area, impairment of mobility. All these signs indicate the damage to the articular cartilage and excess fluid around it.

The common symptoms of arthritis of the elbow joint do not immediately manifest themselves. First of all, it is fatigue, fever and fever, headache, nausea.

Arthritis of the elbow joint in acute and chronic form can have serious complications. Without treatment, the tissues around the inflamed joints can be contracted, after which the hand is fixed in one position and no longer unbends (joint stiffness). The defect can be corrected by gypsum, and in especially difficult cases – surgical intervention. Also the consequences of untimely prevention and treatment of arthritis is phlegmon – purulent inflammation of deep or superficial tissues of the hand, bursitis – inflammation of the periarticular bag, ankylosis – joint fusion and complete loss of motor ability of the hand.

Diagnosis of arthritis of the elbow joint

An accurate diagnosis of ulnar arthritis is made by a rheumatologist or orthopedist. For a complete clinical picture, you will need a direct and lateral x-ray of the elbow and, what is important for detecting all inflammatory diseases, is a general blood test. If the localization of the inflammatory process could not be determined, ultrasound (ultrasound), MRI etc.

But sometimes this is not enough to find out the true cause of arthritis of the elbow joint. In such cases, it may also be necessary to analyze the synovial fluid of the elbow joint – it is extracted with a medical needle (puncture). Data on the contents of the periarticular fluid, which are obtained during the analysis of the SC, allow the doctor to accurately determine the presence of the arthritis and its type (inflammatory or non-inflammatory), since the inflammation can also be caused by bacteria.

It is interesting that only women can take arthritis of the elbow joint in the inheritance. In their case, the HLA-B27 gene may become a provocateur of arthritis. This explains why ulnar arthritis is more common in women.

A common etiologic factor for men and women is rheumatic diseases, which occur mainly with systemic or local connective tissue damage (rheumatism and complications of other diseases, systemic vasculitis, diffuse tissue diseases).

Causes of arthritis of the elbow joint: Diseases of joints

Microcrystalline arthritis is a group of articular diseases caused by the deposition of crystals, most often there are urates and calcium pyrophosphates (the cause of pyrophosphate arthropathy).

Psoriatic arthritis is a concomitant inflammation of the joints, which in 10% of cases occurs with chronic skin and nail disease – psoriasis – and not always at the same time. Sometimes psoriatic arthropathy appears after 10 years or on the contrary ahead of the symptoms of psoriasis.

Reactive arthritis – inflammation of joints after a previous infection, incl. STDs (chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis) or intestinal disorders (yersiniosis).

Osteoarthritis is a group of diseases affecting the cartilaginous tissues of the articular surface.

Bechterew’s disease is a chronic progressive inflammation of the intervertebral joints, which leads to their fusion.

Causes of arthritis of the elbow joint: Vasculites

Hemorrhagic vasculitis is a disease with a predominant lesion of capillaries of the skin, joints, gastrointestinal tract and kidneys. Defeat of the joints is observed in most patients with this type of vasculitis, however, most often affected by large joints.

Buerger’s disease (obliterating thrombagiitis) is a pathological process of blood flow disturbance, which is characterized by inflammation of small vessels of the extremities and passes to large vessels.

Nodal periarteritis is a disease of the arteries, which causes damage to the arteries of internal organs.

Causes of arthritis of the elbow joint: Diffuse diseases

Systemic lupus erythematosus is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system starts to kill healthy cells, during which substances that damage the skin, internal organs and joints are produced.

Dermatomyositis is a systemic disease of connective tissue and muscles accompanied by impaired motor function. The joint syndrome is manifested by pain and impaired mobility.

Systemic scleroderma – hardening of connective tissue with subsequent damage to internal organs. The defeat of the joints is manifested by pain, stiffness.

Sharpe Syndrome is an autoimmune connective tissue disease, during which symptoms of lupus erythematosus, systemic scleroderma and rheumatoid arthritis are observed.

Other causes of arthritis of the elbow joint

  • bacteria, viruses and fungi;
  • dysbacteriosis, food poisoning, metabolic disorders;
  • sinusitis, pharyngitis, tonsillitis and other diseases of the respiratory system;
  • allergic reactions;
  • avitaminosis;
  • acute viral hepatitis;
  • urethritis, enterocolitis, cystitis;
  • measles, sepsis, tuberculosis, diabetes mellitus,
  • pyelonephritis;
  • brucellosis;
  • excessive physical activity and trauma;
  • malignant tumors;
  • high humidity, poor ventilation.