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Additional Conditions
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Many forms of arthritis and related conditions that affect the joints, muscles and/or bones can cause problems like pain, stiffness and swelling in the elbows.

The most common cause of arthritis of the elbow is rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis and injuries can also cause arthritis in the elbow joint.

Symptoms of elbow arthritis vary and can include:

  • Pain. In the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis, pain may be primarily on the outer side of the joint. Pain generally gets worse as you turn (rotate) your forearm. The pain of osteoarthritis may get worse as you extend your arm. Pain that continues during the night or when you are at rest indicates a more advanced stage of osteoarthritis.

  • Swelling. This is more common with rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Instability. The joint isn't stable and gives way, making it difficult or impossible to do normal daily activities.

  • Lack of full movement. You are not able to straighten (extend) or bend (flex) the elbow.

  • Locking. Your elbow joint catches or locks. This can happen with osteoarthritis.

  • Stiffness. This happens particularly with arthritis that develops after an injury.

  • Pain in both elbows. Having pain in both elbows or pain at the wrists or shoulders (or both) as well as pain in the elbows is a sign of rheumatoid arthritis.

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