Elbow stiffness


One of the most common elbow conditions, elbow stiffness is often caused by a previous injury or fracture. However, stiffness may also be caused by osteoarthritis of the elbow.


Although elbow stiffness can limit your range of movement, it may also be accompanied by other symptoms including swelling, pain or locking of the joint.


A medical examination and discussion of your symptoms is usually backed up by an X-ray and, in some cases, an MRI scan to assess the extent of any damage.


Non-operative treatment, including physiotherapy, is usually enough to improve your symptoms although in some cases you may need to have surgery to tidy up the joint (debridement) and restore movement. This can usually be carried out using arthroscopy. Severe stiffness, often caused by advanced osteoarthritis, sometimes requires open arthrolysis of the elbow surgery.