Features December 2010 Issue

Elbow Arthritis Pain: Rest It or Use It?

Thereís no need to pamper your elbow after a steroid injection; resuming normal activities can also relieve pain.

Patients with elbow synovitis who receive glucocorticoid injections should not be advised to immobilize or rest the joint in the post-treatment period, researchers report. In fact, elbow pain, function, and mobility were no different in patients who resumed normal activities than in those who were immobilized, according to a study in the May 2010 issue of Arthritis Care and Research. "Most patients with synovitis have some kind of underlying inflammatory arthritis, whether itís rheumatoid or severe osteoarthritis," says Steven Maschke, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic. "For those patients, even short-term immobilization, whether itís following an injection or not, can lead to stiffness and more pain."

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