Maintaining Good Health Even When You're Busy

Your Previously-Injured Elbow Hurts? You Could Possibly Have Post-Traumatic Arthritis

by Caitlin Obara

If your previously injured elbow hurts or aches after many years of feeling alright, you might have post-traumatic arthritis. Post-traumatic arthritis is a wear and tear disorder that affects the joints in your body. Sometimes injuries can develop arthritis if you overuse, re-injure, or aggravate them. Learn more about post-traumatic arthritis and how it affects your previously injured elbow below:

How Can Post-Traumatic Arthritis Develop in Your Elbow?

If you're like many people, you associate arthritis with older individuals. Although arthritis is more common in the elderly, the joint condition can also develop in people who have previous damage in their joints. This is called post-traumatic arthritis. 

Post-traumatic arthritis develops when the cartilage supporting your elbow joints breaks or wears down. Cartilage allows your elbow joints to glide or move past each other when you move your arm. Without cartilage, the joints rub against each other. The rubbing action can cause the joints in your injured elbow to swell up with pain.

Post-traumatic arthritis doesn't get better without treatment. In many cases, the joint condition can become worse.

What Can You Do About Your Aching Elbow?

The treatment for post-traumatic arthritis is similar to the treatment prescribed for traditional arthritis. The most common treatment option is anti-inflammatory medication. The medication relieves and prevents the symptoms of arthritis.

Some bone and joint specialists (orthopedists) use surgery to replace joints affected by arthritis. The surgery may replace the entire joint or just some of it with an implant. If your elbow is severely damaged by arthritis, a doctor may suggest that you replace it completely. 

After treatment, you can protect your elbow by avoiding activities that aggravate it. Also, eat fruits, vegetables, and proteins that strengthen your elbows and other joints. Items, such as walnuts, salmon, and cherries, contain nutrients that make joints stronger. Dairy products like low-fat cheese and yogurt are also good choices for you. If possible, ask a bone specialist for a list of things you should eat to keep your joints healthy. 

Finally, see an orthopedist for routine care. People with previous joint damage or injury may develop traditional osteoarthritis in the affected joint later on in life. You can protect your body's joints from osteoarthritis by keeping your weight down, exercising regularly, and having your bones tested for inflammation and low density. 

You can find more information about post-traumatic arthritis and osteoarthritis by contacting an orthopedic specialist or doctor. Talk to a doctor about joint replacement for more information and assistance.