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What are Loose Bodies in the Elbow?

The elbow joints involve three bones and multiple ligaments and tendons that move smoothly together for proper function. When small pieces of bone or cartilage (loose bodies) are in the elbow joint, it can cause irritation, pain and restrict movement. At Jonathan Glashow, MD, Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine, we offer a diagnosis and treatment for loose bodies in the elbow at our medical facility in the Upper East Side of New York City.

What Causes Elbow Bone or Cartilage Fragments?

The elbow is a hinge and pivot joint with many moving parts. Injuries, degenerative disease and fractures may result in small fragments of bone or cartilage becoming loose in the elbow joint. Osteoarthritis is a common cause of loose bodies in the elbow as the cartilage deteriorates. Fractures and other injuries can cause fragments that float in the elbow. Athletes or others that put excessive stress on the elbows with lifting or throwing may also experience loose bodies in the elbow.

Loose bone and cartilage bodies in the elbow can interfere with the movement of ligaments, tendons and muscles in the elbow. Symptoms include pain and stiffness when bending or extending the elbow. The elbow may catch or lock during movement, with a clicking sensation when it breaks free from the restriction.

Treating Elbow Joint Loose Bodies

Some people are able to live with loose bodies in the elbow when the pain or dysfunction is minimal. If it does cause dysfunction or chronic pain, treatment can include removal of loose bone or cartilage from the elbow joint. Our expert orthopedic team can perform minimally-invasive arthroscopy to remove loose bodies to improve joint function and relieve pain.

If you are experiencing symptoms of loose bodies in the elbow joint and want to explore treatment options, contact Jonathan Glashow, MD, Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine. We offer treatment for elbow injuries and dysfunction at our medical facility in NYC.

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