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Elbow Arthritis

Arthritis is chronic (long lasting) inflammation of a joint. There are several forms of the disease, but all are characterized by the progressive loss of cartilage in a joint. The elbow is a hinged joint formed by the articulation of three bones, the humerus of the upper arm and the radius and ulna of the forearm. Each articulating surface is covered with protective smooth cartilage that cushions the bones and enables them to slide across each other without friction. The conformation of the bone ends that form the elbow, and the strength of the supporting ligaments result in a joint that usually articulates evenly. With age and use this articular cartilage deteriorates, leaving bone surfaces exposed. Bones often respond by growing more bone, decreasing the distance between them. Eventually movement of the elbow joint causes the bones to rub directly against each other, triggering inflammation, pain and deformity, the condition known as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition also known as degenerative joint disease and is more likely to develop when a person is aged 50 or over.

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