The fragments of bone and cartilage that break away and are found floating within the elbow joint, are called loose bodies. These loose bodies are formed during stress experienced by the elbow during repetitive overhead and lifting actions performed in sports or regular activities. The loose bodies consist of small pieces of cartilage or bones or even elbow joint spurs.
Loose body could be due to torn cartilage or a loose piece of bone , osteochondritis dessicans , synovial chondromatosis, Osteoarthritis of the elbow has also been seen as a common causes for the formation of loose bodies in the elbow.
These loose bodies cause pain, clicking and locking of the elbow. The elbow will get stuck and then might unlock with pain and a clicking sound. The patient is aware of loose bodies by the feeling of something moving within the elbow joint.
The doctor would also recommend the following tests for diagnosis:
The different non-surgical treatment options recommended by doctors are:
The doctor will suggest for surgical interventions if symptoms like clicking, locking and catching of the elbows still persist, since prolonged presence of loose bodies can lead to further articular damage, even after following the non-surgical treatment methods.
The doctor will recommend Elbow Arthroscopy to remove the loose bodies, along with contracture release or synovectomy.
This is a minimal invasive surgical procedure performed to diagnose and also treat injuries to the elbow joint like Tennis Elbow.
The procedure involves the doctor in creating couple of incisions and inserting the tiny camera called the Arthroscope, which will act as a visual aid for the doctors in performing the procedure. The doctors will first examine the injured area and then insert thin surgical instruments through the other incisions and use the arthroscope to guide them to the injured spot and perform the procedure.
The doctor will recommend physical therapy for the elbow, after the surgery. This will include exercises to restore the movement and the range of motion of the elbow and also to strengthen the muscles around the elbow.