Bone spurs or osteophytes are abnormal growths of bone that can disrupt the normal functioning of a particular joint. Chronic inflammation linked with bursitis, elbow arthritis or tendinitis can cause bone spurs in the elbow. The possible symptoms that bone spurs in the elbow are present include stiffness, joint pain, hard bump close to the joint, difficulty straightening the elbow, numbness or tingling and a weak grip. The first aid care and treatment for bone spurs in the elbow can range from over-the-counter medications but even surgery can be considered.
Application of ice
An acute flare-up of pain linked with bone spurs in the elbow can respond to the application of ice. By using an ice pack, it can help reduce the swelling by reducing the friction against the bone spur. Always remember that ice could not effectively provide relief for chronic pain. Just make sure that the ice pack is covered with a clean cloth or towel before applied on the skin to prevent ice burn.
By enrolling in a first aid course, you can learn how to effectively use ice for other injuries especially soft tissue injuries that can occur in the workplace or while engaging in sports.
Providing anti-inflammatory medications
Both bursitis and tendinitis of the elbow can lead to the swelling of the tissues. The swelling is caused by friction between the tissues and the bone spurs in the elbow, thus triggering pain. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help minimize the inflammation and swelling in the tendons. Once the swelling is reduced, it diminishes the rubbing action against the bone spur, thus providing relief from pain.
Among individuals who have bone spurs in the elbow due to arthritis, prescription anti-inflammatory medications or injection of a steroid medication into the joint can help minimize the inflammation, pain and swelling.
Bone spurs in the elbow that cause persistent pain or loss of joint function would require surgical intervention, particularly arthroscopic surgery. During this procedure, the doctor will create several small-sized incisions around the elbow joint. An arthroscope is inserted so that the doctor can check the elbow joint. With the help of the arthroscope, the doctor can remove the bone spurs and other tissue debris that might be causing pain and disrupting the mobility of the joint.
Replacement of the joint
In some cases, bone spurs in the elbow are responsible for the joint deformities that occur among those with osteoarthritis. As the cartilage in the joint starts to wear away, the bone close to the joint will overgrow and form large spurs, resulting to the deformity of the joint while at the same time limiting the mobility. For those with severe elbow arthritis and joint deformity, the solution involves the replacement of the elbow joint in order to provide relief from pain and restoration of the joint function.