Stiff Elbow

Arthritis of the elbow most commonly seen:

  • Post traumatic. 
  • Osteoarthritis (normal wear and tear). 
  • Inflammatory - Rheumatoid.


  • Stiffness – reduction in functional range of motion
  • Locking, catching
  • Pain
  • Deformity

Rheumatoid arthritis with destruction of joint is seen less often now due to better medical and immunomodulatory treatments. The following stages:

  • Mild synovitis – osteopenia. Treatment is largely medical management.
  • Moderate synovitis – narrow joint space – treated by synovectomy if drugs cannot relieve the pain. This can be done arthroscopically.
  • Severe synovitis – loss of articular cartilage - resurfacing arthroplasty.
  • Mechanical instability – destroyed joint - semi constrained arthroplasty.

Fractures and Other Injuries

Distal Humeral Fractures

  • Intra-articular 
  • Single column
  • Bi column
  • Capitellum/Trochlea
  • Extraaricular
  • Extracapsular - Medial/latl epicondyle
  • Intracapsular - Transcolumn fractures


Figure1: Very low open intraarticular fracture with Triceps rupture.
Figure2: which was treated with a Semiconstrained joint replacement.

Radial Head Fractures

Figure: Lateral view of Elbow showing  radial head fracture  and a fat pad sign

Radial Head Fracture

  • Stabiliser of the lateral column of joint.
  • Ass. Injury include elbow dislocation.
  • Fall on outstretched pronated hand, Valgus (outward) stress to the elbow.
  • Classification - Mason.
  • Diagnosis – aspiration which also relives pain.
  • Most radial head fractures are undisplaced or minimally displaced and are treated non-operatively.
  • Displaced fractures depending on the severity need internal fixation with screws, plates or rarely need a radial head replacement.

Olecranon Debridement

Radial Head Debridement

Book a Consultation

Louise McGuire (Spire Elland)
appointments 01422 324041

01422 324020

sec: 01422 324085