Just like hip and knee arthritis, it is usually seen in the over 50 age group.
Why does it occur?
The exact cause is usually unknown. It is more common in those with a physical job or lifestyle, or previous injury, such as an untreated rotator cuff tear. Although not as common as arthritis of the hip and knee, the shoulder and elbow joints can also develop (osteo) arthritis causing pain, stiffness and reduced function.
Clinical assessment and X-rays are essential. Often, CT scans are used to help plan the surgery.
For mild cases, injection, painkillers and physiotherapy are tried in the first instance.
However, for more severe symptoms, modern shoulder joint replacement (resurfacing) is an excellent solution for pain control and restoring movement. Elbow arthritis often responds to a debridement operation in order to remove excess bone and release areas of stiffness. Increasingly, this is being undertaken using "keyhole" surgery. Elbow replacements are best reserved for lower demand patients.
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