Flexion Contracture (Stiff Elbow)
The elbow joint is a “hinge” joint. It bends, straightens, extends, and offers a range of flexion up to 145 degrees. A stiff elbow refers to those individuals who experience pain or problems when extending their elbow greater than 30 degrees. The cause of a stiff elbow may include arthritis of the elbow, post-traumatic injury, biceps tendon tear, infection, congenital and degenerative conditions. The main symptoms of a stiff elbow are pain and loss of motion. The goals of treatment are to provide patients with a pain-free, functional and stable elbow. Physical therapy is usually the best course of treatment. Surgical treatment may also be offered depending on the severity of elbow stiffness.