-Cyprus Orthopaedics

Elbow Bone Spurs

Overgrowth of bone at the margins of the joint produces bone spurs. This bone overgrowth results from wear and tear or early arthritis in the joint. Bone spurs may impinge and impede movements.
Elbow Conditions-Cyprus Orthopaedics

Elbow Bone Spurs

Understanding the Causes of Elbow Bone Spurs

Elbow bone spurs can develop as a result of several factors. One common cause is repetitive motion, such as throwing a ball or swinging a racquet, which puts stress on the elbow joint. Over time, this repetitive stress can lead to the formation of bone spurs. Another common cause is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that causes the cartilage in the joint to wear down. As the body tries to repair the damaged joint, it may form bone spurs. Additionally, injury or trauma to the elbow can also contribute to the development of bone spurs.

Symptoms of Elbow Bone Spurs

The symptoms of elbow bone spurs can vary depending on the size and location of the spur. In some cases, individuals may not experience any symptoms at all. However, when symptoms do occur, they often include pain, swelling, and tenderness in the elbow joint. The pain may worsen with movement or pressure on the joint. Some individuals may also experience a limited range of motion or difficulty fully extending or flexing the elbow. In severe cases, the bone spur may impinge on nearby nerves, causing numbness or tingling in the hand or fingers.

Diagnosing Elbow Bone Spurs

If you suspect you have elbow bone spurs, it is important to consult with a medical professional for a proper diagnosis. Your doctor will likely begin by conducting a physical examination of your elbow, checking for signs of swelling, tenderness, and limited range of motion. They may also order imaging tests such as X-rays or an MRI to get a closer look at the bones and joints. These tests can help confirm the presence of bone spurs and determine their size and location.

Treatment Options for Elbow Bone Spurs

The treatment options for elbow bone spurs depend on the severity of the symptoms and the impact on daily activities. In many cases, non-surgical treatments are effective in relieving pain and improving mobility. These may include rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications to reduce inflammation and discomfort. Physical therapy exercises can also help strengthen the muscles around the elbow joint and improve range of motion. Additionally, your doctor may recommend the use of a brace or splint to provide support and stability to the joint.

Non-surgical Treatments for Elbow Bone Spurs

In addition to rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications, there are other non-surgical treatments that can help alleviate the symptoms of elbow bone spurs. Your doctor may suggest corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief. Additionally, modifying activities that aggravate the symptoms and using ergonomic tools or equipment can help prevent further irritation of the elbow joint.

Surgical Options for Elbow Bone Spurs

In cases where non-surgical treatments are not effective or the symptoms are severe, surgical intervention may be necessary. The specific surgical procedure will depend on the size and location of the bone spur, as well as the overall condition of the elbow joint. One common surgical option is arthroscopic debridement, where the bone spur is removed using a small camera and specialized instruments. In more complex cases, open surgery may be required to fully remove the bone spur and repair any damaged tissues or ligaments.

Recovery and Rehabilitation after Treatment

After undergoing treatment for elbow bone spurs, it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions for recovery and rehabilitation. This may include a period of rest and limited use of the affected arm to allow the tissues to heal properly. Physical therapy exercises will also be an essential part of the recovery process, helping to restore strength, flexibility, and range of motion in the elbow joint. It is important to be patient during the recovery period and not rush back into activities that may put excessive strain on the joint

Patients may experience difficulty reaching or in some instances feel pain at the end of the range of movements. Symptoms may interfere with the ability to work or participate in sports. Examination of the joint shows subtle loss of movement when compared to the opposite side (if normal). An X-ray may be performed to look for bone spurs and to assess the joint surfaces. Special imaging with an MRI or CT scan is often necessary to look at the bearing surface and identify the location of the bone spurs, to help plan the treatment.

If the symptoms are mild or infrequent, then modification of activities may be all that is required. If there is associated stiffness then physiotherapy may be of benefit. See the section on “Elbow stiffness”.

Surgery: In some patients, in whom symptoms are troublesome or interfere with sports or work, it may be appropriate to undertake surgical treatment. Surgery consists of arthroscopy (“key-hole” surgery) to remove bone spurs. If there are signs of joint stiffness as well then it may be necessary to release the thickened and scarred capsule or “sleeve” of the joint. For further information on surgical treatment, please refer to the procedures section.

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