Get access

Primary elbow osteoarthritis: an updated review


David Stanley, Department of Orthopaedics, Northern General Hospital, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S5 7AU, UK.
Tel.: +44 (0)114 2714025.
Fax: +44 (0)114 2266796.


Primary elbow arthritis predominantly affects middle aged men undertaking heavy manual work. Patients present with pain and limited movement but may also complain of ulnar nerve sensory or motor symptoms. Radiographic features include osteophytes at the tip of the olecranon and coronoid processes, loose bodies, narrowing of the radiocapitellar joint space and thickening of the olecranon fossa membrane.

Treatment options range from conservative management using oral analgaesics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs through to open debridement procedures, arthroscopy and occasionaly in selected patients total elbow arthroplasty.