The elbow joint arthrosis is a progressing degenerate and dystrophic disease of the elbow joint affecting all its elements: cartilages, ligaments, joint cover, circumarticular muscles and bones. An initial stage of arthrosis is affection of the cartilaginous tissue of joint surfaces.
Further the disease progresses and can lead to formation of the distort pathological joint with sharply limited range of motions or completely motionless.
Timely complex treatment and subsequent rehabilitation can practically stop arthrosis and return freedom of motions.
At present it is customary to speak not about the reasons which caused arthrosis, but about factors and groups of risk. Three main groups of factors are defined:
- trauma is the most frequent provocative factor;
- genetic predisposition is congenital features which are followed by the changed biomechanics of the joint;
- inflammation – autoimmune diseases or an infectious process are reasons of it.
There are women of over 50 years in the group of risk on the first place. Also, the probability of development of the elbow joint arthrosis is quite high among athletes (for example, tennis players) and people whose profession means considerable loading and intensity of movements in the elbow joint (writers, traffic controlers, drivers, loaders and musicians).
Stages of the elbow joint arthrosis
The elbow joint is a subject of development of arthrosis less, than a coxofemoral or ankle joint as it experiences, on average, smaller loadings.
First degree of arthrosis
Symptoms: periodic emergence of insignificant pain and inflammation in the elbow joint after loading or with a big amplitude of movements (bending/ unbending) – there is practically no pain at rest. The muscular tone in the elbow joint is lowered and there can be a feeling of fatigue. The elbow joint doesn’t have any external changes.
Second degree of arthrosis
Symptoms: amplitude of movements in the elbow joint decreases because of the expressed pain syndrome. Pain can appear at the movement of the forearm and hand. The chronic inflammation in the elbow joint is noted. In certain cases at the movement “dry” clicks can be heard. The joint thickening is visually noted. The tone of muscles in the joint is considerably lowered. Pathological bone growths start to form osteophytes.
Third degree of arthrosis
Symptoms: In the third stage pathological bone growths (osteophytes) are finally formed, which can make the elbow joint almost motionless over time. Externally the elbow joint looks much deformed, there are sharp mamelons on the elbow.
There is a strong curvature of the limb axis.
The hand with the affected elbow joint looks thinner than the healthy one because of the muscular atrophy.
Treatment of the elbow joint arthrosis
The main goal of the exercise therapy at this form of arthrosis is to stimulate muscles which are responsible for unbending of the forearm. Exercises are carried out at various slow and fast speeds.