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My elbow is still stiff with some limitation. Could use some exercises for getting better extention and flexion since Physical Therapy is too expensive. Used a dynasplint with some improvement in extension (Dr. discharged it though). I use a hot pack for comfort between working cycles as I type for four to five hours straight. Is there anything I should be doing to improvement my elbow and fingers, especially the stiffness?

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replied December 23rd, 2008
Arthritis Answer A5117

Current medical status: Since elbow surgery 8/7/2008, have sustained stiff fingers in morning with difficulty to make fist and middle finger somewhat impaired (right side). Left side, morning stiffness started with hand clutched upon awakening and painful and stiff to open. Second injury 5/2008: trigger finger right hand after injury (thumb); treated with coritisone shot. A month later trigger finger left hand (without injury); treated with same shot. [strange, don't you think].
Current medical treatment: Glacamine Chondrontin - started beginning of this week. I also submerge fingers in hot water and bend them and resistence exercise to strenghten, all intermittently.

According to the symptoms you described (stiffness of elbow and fingers in the morning), you might be experiencing degenerative arthrosis. This is not the same as rheumatoid arthritis, which is mainly an inflammatory disease of the joints, whereas degenerative arthrosis is mainly a degenerative disorder. Both are characterized with swelling and pain in the affected joints. The pain is usually strongest when awakening, in the morning. Several minutes after continuous moving of the joints, the pain decreases to bearable levels.

Physical therapy is definitely the best solution to ease the symptoms. Meanwhile, you can try to help yourself with products that have certain of the following ingredients: glucosamine, chondroitine, methylsulfonylmethane. A product with Aloe Vera might also be helpful if an inflammation is present. If the degenerative component is dominant than applying heat might help you, as well.

You might want to visit a rheumatologist to see if your condition is more inflammatory or degenerative and adjust the therapy.

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