Surgery is often the first type of treatment people think of for elbow arthritis, but is it the best treatment option? Discover what the best type of treatment for elbow arthritis is and learn about when, if ever, surgery should be considered.
Surgery is often considered a last-resort option for treatment
Surgery is extremely risky. Not only is the actual procedure risky, but there are numerous problems that can occur after the procedure that could dramatically impact your health. In an effort to protect their patients, most doctors will only recommend surgery when all other treatment options have failed.
Other treatment options for elbow arthritis are often tried before recommending surgery because they carry fewer risks. Doctors would prefer to relieve arthritis pain with these lower-risk treatment options than go with the riskier surgical option.
Nonsurgical treatment options that are often tried first for elbow arthritis
Conventional, nonsurgical treatment is often tried first when treating elbow arthritis. Examples of conventional, nonsurgical treatment for elbow arthritis include:
- Cold and hot therapy — use of heat and ice to loosen up the joints and reduce swelling
- Over-the-counter pain medications
- Prescription medications for pain and to reduce swelling or inflammation
- Cortisone injections
- Braces and splints
- Physical therapy
When to consider surgery for the treatment of elbow arthritis
While nonsurgical treatment may help relieve pain for some patients with elbow arthritis, it doesn’t work for everyone. In some situations, surgery may be the only treatment option available that could provide effective pain relief.
You may want to consider surgery to treat elbow arthritis if you experience any of the following:
- Extreme pain in the elbow that is not lessened by the use of over-the-counter or prescription medication
- Extreme limitations in range of motion caused by arthritis
- Elbow joint feels extremely weak or unstable
- Elbow is extremely difficult to straighten or bend
- Severe injury to the elbow may have resulted in extensive wear and tear on the joint and surrounding bones that will not heal naturally
- X-rays show that there are structural deformities around the elbow joint
Surgery may be the best option for you
Even though doctors may avoid recommending surgery for arthritis, depending upon your unique situation, it could be the best treatment option for you. It is important to work with a doctor who won’t apply a "one-size-fits-all" solution to elbow arthritis and will instead do a complete examination and evaluation to determine personalized treatment recommendations.
If you are experiencing any elbow pain or are having difficulty moving your elbow, call Next Step Orthopedics to explore possible treatment options that can relieve your pain and improve your range of motion. Dr. Dominique Nickson will thoroughly evaluate your case and come up with personalized treatment recommendations that can improve the quality of your life by reducing pain and discomfort.
Contact the office of Next Step Orthopedics to schedule an appointment to discuss treatment options for elbow arthritis or book an appointment yourself by using the “book online” feature on our website.