As Cubitalarthrose osteoarthritis of the elbow is called. It is caused by degenerative changes.
What is cubital osteoarthritis?
Cubital arthrosis is arthrosis of the elbow joint. It is one of the rare forms of osteoarthritis because the elbow is not one of the joints that carry heavy weights. The degenerative changes are mainly caused by injuries.
The elbow joint (Articulatio cubiti) consists of three partial joints. These form a functional unit and ensure a connection between the humerus and the forearm spoke through the humerus-spoke joint. In addition, a connection between the ulna and the upper arm is established by the upper arm-ulnar joint. Both bones of the forearm come together in the ulnar-spoke joint.
A hinge joint and a ball-and-pin joint meet in the elbow. The smooth functioning of the elbow joint is made possible by fiber cartilage. This covers the adjacent joint surfaces and has a protective effect on them.
Together with the ligaments, the muscles ensure the stability of the joint and implement the movement impulses. The functions of the elbow include bending and stretching movements from the forearm towards the upper arm and turning the spoke within the joint, which in turn enables the human hand to turn around.
Cubital arthrosis affects around two percent of the population, which is a relatively low proportion compared to the knee joint (articulatio genus). In contrast to the knee, the elbow joint is not subject to permanent stress from body weight. For this reason, damage or injuries to the elbow are the most common reasons for the occurrence of cubital osteoarthritis.
Sports that cause increased wear and tear on the elbow, such as tennis or golf, are often responsible for this. Doctors then speak of a tennis elbow.
But certain systemic diseases are also responsible for elbow osteoarthritis. This includes rheumatism in particular.
Another common cause of wear and tear is accidents and injuries that lead to cartilage injuries and bone fractures. The causes of osteoarthritis are usually broken cartilage, bone axis changes and remaining joint stages. In addition, wear and tear of the elbow from free joint bodies or osteochondrosis dissecans, which have an increased rate of arthrosis, is possible.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
Osteoarthritis of the [elbow pain | elbow caused by pain]] is noticeable. These show up sporadically at the beginning of the disease and under heavy stress. The affected people often suffer from elbow problems at night.
If the cubital arthrosis continues, the intensity of the pain also increases. The same also applies to the frequency. Elbow pain is increasingly evident even when the patient is at rest. With cubital arthrosis, other complaints are also possible. This includes muscular tension and swelling.
In addition, the elbow joint’s ability to move is restricted more and more until it finally stiffens. It is not uncommon for so-called crepitations to appear. These are crackling and crackling noises that are heard when the elbow moves.
Cubital arthrosis pain often occurs in the morning after getting up. They are often stinging. Inflammation is also possible, which is associated with overheating of the joint.
Diagnosis & course
In most cases, the complaints lead the patient to the doctor, who first deals in detail with the patient’s medical history (anamnesis). As part of the physical examination, a scan and a movement test of the elbow joint take place. This is followed by taking x-rays.
The doctor can determine the full extent of the joint damage through the X-ray examination. A narrowing of the joint can be seen in this way. Furthermore, can the osteophytes are to hold a subchondral sclerosis and subchondral cysts.
Cubital arthrosis progresses slowly. A cure for the suffering cannot be achieved. The destroyed tissue can no longer be regenerated. However, there is an opportunity through medical treatment to improve the quality of life of those affected.
When should you go to the doctor?
A doctor should be consulted quickly if there is pain in the elbow. At the beginning, cubital arthrosis manifests itself only sporadically and under heavy stress. Typically, the symptoms appear at night and after long periods of rest. If you notice these symptoms, it is best to consult your family doctor or a specialist in arthritic diseases directly. Medical advice is required at the latest when symptoms such as muscular tension and swelling appear.
A sudden inability to move in the elbow joint also indicates cubital arthrosis. As the process progresses, the joint finally stiffens and can no longer be moved. Medical advice is required if crackling and crackling noises are noticeable, which occur mainly during stretching and bending movements.
In general, the following applies: if you experience pain, stiffness or unusual noises when moving, consult a doctor immediately. Depending on how far the cubital arthrosis has progressed, rapid treatment in the doctor’s office or even a hospital stay is necessary. Physiotherapeutic measures are indicated after the initial treatment.
Treatment & Therapy
Since cubital arthrosis cannot be cured, treatment of the disease is limited to alleviating the symptoms. Both conservative and operational measures are available for this purpose. The conservative therapy options include physiotherapy exercises in which the muscles are specifically trained.
The aim of the treatment is to stabilize the elbow joint. In some cases, drugs such as chondroitin are also administered to help build the cartilage. However, a lasting improvement could not be achieved with the preparations. If the conservative treatments cannot reduce the pain, surgical interventions are considered useful. This includes, among other things, arthrodesis (joint stiffening), with which an effective permanent relief of pain can be achieved.
It is used for severe impairments of the elbow joint and its functions. During arthrodesis, the surgeon removes cartilage and other tissue from the joint. This enables the adjacent bones to grow together directly. With the help of metal plates and screws, the surgeon fixes the bones in a favorable position.
When the bones have grown together, the plates or screws are removed again. Arthrodesis causes the arthritic joint to restrict movement, which leads to an improvement in pain. Another surgical treatment option is abrasion arthroplasty, in which worn cartilage is removed. In severe cases, it is possible to replace the worn elbow joint with an artificial prosthesis.
Outlook & forecast
Treatment is always necessary for cubital arthrosis. Without treatment, there will be no self-healing and, as a rule, the symptoms will also worsen. The patients suffer from pain in the elbow area and often from tension or swelling in this region.
This also significantly limits the mobility of the joint, which can lead to movement restrictions and restrictions in everyday life. In the further course, the cubital arthrosis can also lead to inflammation of the joint, which leads to further and stronger pain. The joint itself can overheat and damage the muscle.
Cubital arthrosis can often be cured through reactive exercises in physiotherapy. These exercises can also be performed at home by the patient. Targeted training can often completely limit the symptoms.
In severe cases, surgical interventions are necessary, which, however, also lead to a positive course of the disease. Restrictions in movement are completely alleviated. If the symptoms of cubital arthrosis are completely ignored, joint stiffening can also occur, which is associated with severe pain and restricted mobility.
At least one cubital arthrosis, which results from excessive sporting activities, can be prevented. For example, sports such as tennis or golf should be practiced in moderation.
In most cases of cubital arthrosis, those affected have very few or even no options and measures for special follow-up care. First and foremost, early detection and treatment of the disease must take place so that no further complications and complaints occur that could make life difficult for the person affected.
As a rule, early detection of the disease has a very positive effect on the further course. Cubital arthrosis is usually treated by means of physiotherapy or physiotherapy. Those affected can often repeat the exercises at home and thus speed up the treatment.
Surgical interventions may also be necessary to completely alleviate the symptoms of cubital arthrosis. After such an operation, the person affected should rest and take care of their body. Above all, the affected region must be kept quiet and should not be burdened.
Support and help from one’s own family is also very useful with this illness and can, above all, prevent psychological upsets or depression. As a rule, cubital arthrosis does not reduce the life expectancy of the person affected.
You can do that yourself
Osteoarthritis of the elbow joint is caused either by degenerative or accidental wear and tear of the articular cartilage. Elbow arthrosis cannot be cured, but its progression can be prevented. For this purpose, treatment must be started promptly. An important step towards self-help is therefore not to trivialize the symptoms, but to consult a doctor promptly.
At an early stage, cubital arthrosis is usually treated conservatively. The focus is on physiotherapeutic measures aimed at keeping the elbow joint mobile so that the motor function of the affected arm is maintained. Patients should find an experienced physical therapist and have a training plan drawn up.
If the condition is work-related, the person concerned is often no longer allowed to perform certain activities, at least temporarily. Corresponding medical prohibitions should be taken seriously. If the inflammation of the joint becomes chronic, an implantation of an artificial elbow joint may be necessary. In the worst case, there is a risk of the arm stiffening.
Acetylsalicylic acid is often prescribed against pain and inflammatory processes. This substance is also found in willow bark. If you prefer a natural treatment method, you should ask your doctor whether such preparations are an alternative or a supplement to allopathic drugs.