Elbow Osteoarthritis Symptoms and How to Test for Elbow Osteoarthritis
This page is specifically about elbow osteoarthritis symptoms. To find out about the degenerative process please read What is Osteoarthritis first. You can use the use the search button for other joints.
At the bottom of this page there is a test you can do to see if you MAY have elbow OA. However I do advise you to see a healthcare professional to get correctly diagnosed.
Primary osteoarthritis (when the degeneration occurs for no apparent reason) is rare in the elbow. However if there has been a history of trauma, such as recurrent sprains and strains or a fracture then it is not unusual to get osteoarthritis later in life. Elbow osteoarthritis symptoms appear to be most common in men who have done heavy manual labour.
Let’s start with a quick anatomy lesson first.
The elbow is made up of two joints: the main joint between the end of the upper arm bone (the humerus) and the two forearm bones, the radius and ulna. This allows the bending movement. The second joint is between the radius and ulna, (the radioulnar joint), which rotates so these two bones to cross over each other. This rotation is what allows us to turn our hand over, – palm up or palm down.
Elbow Osteoarthritis Symptoms
The following information is not meant to replace a visit to a health care professional. It is important you get your pain properly diagnosed and make sure that you do actually have elbow osteoarthritis symptoms rather than another type of arthritis.
As a general rule you will get one, some or all of the following elbow osteoarthritis symptoms:
1. The most common elbow osteoarthritis symptom is pain. You usually get local pain felt in and around the elbow. The pain is felt when you are exercising/active and decreases/stops when you rest. The pain may spread down your forearm and less commonly up your arm as the muscles get irritated by the joint functioning incorrectly. This pain is usually a deep ache in nature.
2. The second most common elbow osteoarthritis symptom is that you usually get stiffness in the morning or after not using your arm for a while, but this will go on moving. How long this lasts depends on how bad your osteoarthritis is.
3. Your elbow joint may have what is called ‘crepitus’ which means it grates, crunches and cracks.
4. Your elbow joint movement will decrease, most commonly in the rotational movement. To test this hold a pen or pencil in both hands with clenched fists and so the ends point out on each side. Hold your arms out in front of your with your elbows straight. Rotate both arms in then both arms out. You are trying to see if one arm twists more than the other and by watching the pencils it will be more obvious. Then make sure that your elbows bend the same and straighten the same.
If you have any of these elbow osteoarthritis symptoms it is important you get a healthcare professional to confirm this. Different types of arthritis are treated differently so make sure which one you have as the symptoms can be similar. Then you can sign up for my free 3 day course on how to manage your osteoarthritis pain.