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Total Elbow Arthroplasty Hand Therapy

“Working with a knowledgeable hand therapist can make the difference between success and failure in complex hand surgical cases. The therapist extends the continuum of our care, as well as functioning as coach and trainer for our patients.”

Marybeth Ezaki, MD, Past President, American Society for Surgery of the Hand

In Phoenix Rehab, our senior hand therapists are experienced licensed and dedicated therapists (physiotherapists and/or occupational therapists) who specialized ONLY in the rehabilitation, treatment and management of painful fingers, hands, wrists, forearm & elbow conditions, because of interest, passion and expertise.

A total elbow arthroplasty refers to the surgical replacement of the bones near the elbow.

Our elbow joint is made up of three bones:

  • the bone of the upper arm (the humerus) and
  • the two forearm bones (the radius, which is located on the thumb side of the forearm
  • and the ulna, which is located on the small finger side of the forearm).

Replacing the elbow joint is mainly to improve and allow the elbow to move better with less pain.

What causes someone to need a total elbow arthroplasty?

Several conditions can cause damage to our elbow joint. These conditions can include arthritis and broken bones in the elbow joint.

When the elbow joint is injured, there might be

  • pain
  • stiffness
  • and / or even elbow joint instability

An elbow replacement can be a surgical solution for elbow

  • pain relief
  • increased range of motion, strength and
  • improved function

What should I expect after surgery?

Swelling, pain and stiffness in the first few days after surgery are normal and typical of post-surgery recovery process.

Typically, elbow joint replacement surgery will require a stay in the hospital and your medical team will provide education on how to

Our senior hand therapists will provide gentle motion to the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. A total elbow arthroplasty will change how the arm can be used during activities.

Unfortunately there may be permanent restrictions in

  • lifting
  • pushing
  • pulling or
  • any activity that strains the elbow

Often patients are told not to lift anything more than 5 pounds.

What can a hand therapist do for me after a total elbow arthroplasty?

To protect the elbow, our senior hand therapists will make a protective custom orthosis for the elbow, and will provide education and exercises to gently progress the range of motion and strength in the arm.

Immediate elbow motion and elbow hand therapy after surgery will help achieve the best possible outcome, and our senior hand therapists will guide this process along the way.

Patients may also receive the following hand therapy treatment modalities: