What is elbow arthritis?

The elbow joint is formed by the humerus, ulna and radius. It allows the forearm to rotate, flex and extend in relation to the humerus. Arthritis is the thinning and loss of the cartilage lining of the joint. The most common causes of this can are osteoarthritis, inflammatory arthritis and arthritis secondary to trauma. Other causes also include instability, avascular necrosis (loss of blood supply) and infection.

What are the symptoms of elbow arthritis?

Patients with elbow arthritis describe significant pain, which can affect their sleep. They often report being unable to perform certain tasks. They also develop loss of range of movement, and in some cases, they lose almost all of the normal range of movement. The loss of movement and significant pain prevent patients from performing day to day activities and can significantly affect their quality of life.

How is it diagnosed?

It is diagnosed by taking a careful history and performing a detailed examination. The diagnosis can be confirmed by an elbow X-ray, and further information for operative planning can be gained by performing CT and MRI scans.

How is it treated?

Treatment begins with symptomatic management using pain killers and physiotherapy to maintain movement and muscle strength.

Intra-articular steroid injections as both a diagnostic and therapeutic procedure can be beneficial. These can be very effective on patients in which surgical intervention may not be recommended.

When surgical intervention is required, elbow arthroscopy to assess the joint, remove any loose bodies which may be causing locking of the joint, and remove significant osteophytes (bone overgrowths) can lead to improved range of movement and symptoms. This can delay or prevent the need for an elbow replacement and the effects can be long lasting.

However, in some cases, elbow replacements can help relieve debilitating pain and reduce the restriction in the range of movement. The type of elbow replacement recommended depends on the extent of arthritis and the stability of the elbow. Elbow replacement typically leads to a significant improvement in pain, function and a patient’s quality of life.

Elbow replacements can only be performed at specialist centres in the UK. Grosvenor Orthopaedic Partners are pleased to be able to offer this speciality to our patients.

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury or is experiencing pain in their shoulder or difficulty with moving the shoulder, arm or elbow and would like a consultant-led review, please contact us. Grosvenor Orthopaedics have extensive experience in the treatment of ACJ injuries with excellent patient outcomes.


Grosvenor Orthopaedics have extensive experience in the treatment of should & elbow -related injuries with excellent patient outcomes.


If you would like to learn about other shoulder & elbow conditions click the button below to find out more


If you would like to learn about other shoulder & elbow treatments click the button below to find out more

our specialist shoulder and elbow consultants

Shoulder and Elbow care at Grosvenor Orthopaedics is led by our consultant surgeons Mr W James White and Mr David Butt, both graduates of London medical colleges. They bring extensive experience to Grosvenor Orthopaedics having worked across Guys NHS Trust and the world renowned Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital.

Our team have broad experience in the successful treatment of a range of shoulder and elbow problems, addressing both young and sports related injuries as well as those relating to trauma, disease process and genetics.

Patients who choose Grosvenor Orthopaedic Partners for their treatment will receive some of the best care available in the UK. Our team are leading consultants across London’s shoulder and elbow clinics and offer specialist care to our private patients through King Edward’s Hospital, HCA Lister and other major private hospitals in central London.

Our team are well placed to manage and treat a diverse range of shoulder and elbow problems utilising cutting edge diagnostic technology and treatment approaches, both surgical and conservative. Below is an overview of some of the conditions we treat but for a more thorough understanding please contact our team here


Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon

FRCS(Tr&Orth), MBBS, BSc(Hons)
James is a Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon, practising at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, King Edward VII’s, The Lister Hospital Chelsea and HCA Chiswick Outpatient Clinic. His practice encompasses all aspects of shoulder and elbow surgery including arthroscopy, arthroplasty and trauma. He has a reputation as a thorough clinician, effective communicator and skilled surgeon. Through joint decision-making with the patient and utilising non-operative techniques where possible, he achieves the best possible outcomes for patients. When surgery is required, James has excellent outcomes based on his precise and prepared approach to operating.


Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon

FRCS(Tr&Orth), MSc, MBBS, BSc(Hons)
David is a Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon, practising at the world-renowned Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Stanmore, King Edward VII’s Hospital and One Hatfield. His practice involves all aspects of shoulder and elbow surgery, from minor injuries to complex reconstructive procedures. He strongly believes in shared decision making and a patient-centred approach to treatment. He is a meticulous surgeon using up to date and evidence-based techniques to treat every patient’s individual needs.

What some of our patients say

Mrs MA

Thank you for taking care of me. You went above and beyond and I am so touched and grateful. My knee feels fine now