Arthritis in elbow? one

David Thomas

New User
I have recently been diagianosed with arthritis in my elbow. I broke my elbow in college playing basketball causing the growth of arthritis 35 years later. I can still play tennis with no pain until I try to extend my arm for a serve or try to reach for a wide shot. I'm going to see an orthopedic doctor about surgery, but I always worry about the possibility of nerve damage. I read a few articles about people having elbow surgery for arthritis and afterwards they lost the feel in one or two of their fingers because of nerve damage and they couldn't grip things like before the surgery. Thanks for any feedback!
 
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Raul_SJ

G.O.A.T.
I don't know about surgery but when I took a cortisone injection for tennis elbow, the Doctor said there was a risk of hitting the nerve and losing grip strength.

After the shot, he shook my hand to check my grip strength.
 

Lex

Semi-Pro
I've had 2 elbow debridement surgeries. During the first surgery, the DR relocated the ulnar nerve. I had some tingling and discomfort until the nerve quieted down. The second surgery was more aggressive (bone spurs, arthritis) but the nerve pain was a non-issue.
 

David Thomas

New User
The grade on my elbow is 28%. The orthopedic surgeon said I should be okay for now since I don't have any pain in my regular activities besides tennis. I told him I have pain when trying to stretch for a shot in tennis or when extending my arm for my serve. He didn't really seem to care about my tennis. From my experience with him, he gave me the impression I should stop playing tennis if that's the only time it hurts, and see him if the grade or percentage of elbow moment gets worse. Right now it is at 28%, which he said is okay, but if it gets worse he said he would consider surgery. I'm thinking of going to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale to get a second opinion. I just played singles yesterday, and today my elbow is swollen and achy. The arthritis was caused from years ago when I broke my elbow in college. Thanks for any feedback!
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
Just had elbow surgery for arthritis and bone spurs (Oct 3rd). Had bone spurs on the outside of my elbow which prevented me from straightening (- 25 degrees range of motion from straight), and on the inside which prevented me from bending fully (- 20 degrees compared to left arm). Many many decades of throwing sports and racquet sports coupled with genetic arthritis the probable cause.

Post surgery, no nerve damage (it is a risk) and most of my ROM back through 6 weeks of PT). My ortho knows I play tennis and was fine with it moving forward.

Surgery for me was about 2.5 hours, 4 little incisions. Had a nerve block which was weird. No major surgical discomfort, but PT sucks as usual. Any questions I can help you with?
 

David Thomas

New User
Just had elbow surgery for arthritis and bone spurs (Oct 3rd). Had bone spurs on the outside of my elbow which prevented me from straightening (- 25 degrees range of motion from straight), and on the inside which prevented me from bending fully (- 20 degrees compared to left arm). Many many decades of throwing sports and racquet sports coupled with genetic arthritis the probable cause.

Post surgery, no nerve damage (it is a risk) and most of my ROM back through 6 weeks of PT). My ortho knows I play tennis and was fine with it moving forward.

Surgery for me was about 2.5 hours, 4 little incisions. Had a nerve block which was weird. No major surgical discomfort, but PT sucks as usual. Any questions I can help you with?
 
@Mongolmike @David Thomas I had my elbow looked at a few years back because of loss of motion. The x-ray showed bone spurs. They told me that there was nothing they would do for me then. This was 8+ years ago. I was not having nerve problems in the hand and wrist. I am now. Curious to know how the surgeries and physical therapy are going.
 

Mongolmike

Hall of Fame
I am back to playing tennis and it is pain free. Have most of my ROM back. Notice a big difference in my serve. I can pronate pain free and swing faster. No more having to ice elbow after playing. I still do ROM stretches often- should do them daily, but ya know... life....

Like my knee replacement, I needed it, glad I had the work done, the physical therapy sucked but I worked hard and the results paid off. As regards tennis playing, it is nice to play pain free and worry free. If you didn't know, or didn't notice the knee scar, you'd never be able to tell I have an artificial knee, or had elbow surgery on my hitting arm.

Find a good ortho doc, do what they tell you and hit the PT hard and good luck!
 
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