Treatment of arthritis of the elbow joint will directly depend on the reasons for its occurrence. Primary arthritis is not associated with other diseases, while the secondary arthritis accompanies other diseases, which must be treated first. Infectious arthritis also happens to be primary (the infection gets directly to the elbow joint through wounds) and secondary (viruses and bacteria get through adjacent tissues).
Surgical treatment is an extreme measure, which is used only in very difficult cases. Most often, quite enough conservative treatment, which consists of drug therapy, physiotherapy, massage and therapeutic gymnastics.
Non-surgery methods of elbow joint’s treatment
Usually a person turns to a doctor when he suffers from pain in the joints of the elbow, but the main task of the doctor is not only to anesthetize, but also to stop the inflammatory process in the joints. This is the logic of the treatment of ulnar arthritis: prescribed painkillers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. After the attending physician is convinced of the accuracy of the diagnosis, assesses the cause of arthritis and the location of his localization, he can prescribe the following drugs.
- Analgesics for arthritis of the elbow joint: acetaminophen, paracetamol, analgin, tylenol, methadone, tramadol, ibuprofen.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: celebrex, meloxicam, piroxicam, etc.
- Hormonal anti-inflammatory drugs (steroids) in ulnar arthritis: hydrocortisone, prednisone, triamcinolone.
- Chondroprotectors for the restoration of joint tissues: chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, structum.
If arthritis is obtained because of an infectious disease, antibiotics can not be avoided. Treatment of arthritis of the elbow joint includes not only tablets, injections, but also a local effect on the affected joint: creams and ointments, gels and solutions for lotions. They help to remove puffiness, reduce pain and improve the motor ability of the hands.
During exacerbation of elbow arthritis, it is often recommended to wear elbow pads, bandages or regular bandages.
To avoid fusion of joints and muscle atrophy, the physician can prescribe additional physiotherapeutic procedures with the help of magnetic or ultrasonic waves, laser, electrophoresis, etc. However, such manipulations are possible only if the pain has passed and the period of remission has come.
Physiotherapy, massage, healing mud – a good additional means of preventing arthritis of the elbow joint and its treatment.
Arthroscopy for arthritis of the elbow joint – surgery on the elbow joint under anesthesia through small puncture-cuts, which is the main advantage. First, the joint is practically not injured during access, and secondly, after surgery, it is possible to avoid significant scars. This operation is able to detect and remove even small defects in the affected joint and minimize complications.
Endoprosthesis implantation in the elbow joint – just an hour at the surgery table enough to replace damaged parts of the elbow joint with implants. And the very next day after the surgery the patient will undergo therapeutic gymnastics under the guidance of a specialist. Initially, these are simple exercises, then they become more active, within a week after endoprosthesis implantation, an electromyostimulation is prescribed, and the patient in most cases safely goes to treatment at home.
Elbow arthrodesis – removal of articular cartilage of the radial, ulnar and humerus bones, instead of which place a piece of bone extracted from the elbow. The patient is recommended to avoid the load on the joint for eight weeks, and after six months the implant is removed. To this operation, doctors do not resort often, since subsequently the arm can shorten.
Arthrolysis of the elbow joint is an operative external intervention under anesthesia, after which the amplitude of movements in the loosened joint decreases due to the creation of additional ligaments and bone restraints. This operation is appointed in those cases when a person loses the ability to bend and unbend his arm at the elbow.
Synovectomy – removal of part of the periarticular membrane under anesthesia. The operation is rather sparing and is necessary in cases of rheumatoid arthritis. After surgical intervention, it is possible to maintain the motor function of the joint and completely stop the inflammatory processes of other parts of the elbow joint.
Osteotomy of the elbow joint – removal of the elbow or part of the bone in order to reduce pressure on the joint. Often in the surgery, longitudinal osteotomy is used, which shortens the time of refraction of the remote fragment of the elbow process, and the attachment can be arranged so that the patient does not feel discomfort during the postoperative period. Also, the fixators are removed through small incisions, which improves the cosmetic effect after the operation.
Resection of the elbow joint – partial or complete removal of the joint. Most often enough to resect only a small part of it to fully restore the elbow. In some cases, the head of the radius is removed, especially in the elderly, who developed traumatic arthritis. In young people, the radius is not removed, as this can lead to deformation of the joint. Complete removal of the joint is carried out with purulent arthritis. In the process of operating in the wound, catheters are inserted for the continuous administration of antibiotics.
Arthroplasty of the elbow joint – replacement of damaged joints using an artificial implant or biological graft. The operation is carried out using a camera and an arthroscope. Sometimes the whole elbow joint or one of its three components is transplanted. Arthroplasty is designed to maintain joint mobility and gives good results, especially in young patients. This is a closed type of surgery, and the patient will be able to go home after an hour or two, receiving a list of painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications.