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J Hand Surg Am. 2013 Dec;38(12):2496-507; quiz 2507. doi: 10.1016/j.jhsa.2013.06.007. Epub 2013 Nov 5.

Prevention and treatment of elbow stiffness: a 5-year update.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Orthopaedic and Rheumatologic Institute, Cleveland Clinic; Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland, OH.


Elbow stiffness is a challenging and common problem faced by upper extremity surgeons. Although functional improvements can be made with both nonsurgical and surgical management strategies, physicians must remain vigilant with efforts to prevent stiffness before it starts. Recent advancements in the biology and pathology of elbow contracture have led to improved understanding of this difficult problem, and they may lead to future breakthroughs in the prevention and treatment of elbow stiffness. This article serves as an update to our previous review of elbow stiffness, focusing on recent advancements in the past 5 years, as well as updating our current algorithm for treatment.


Contracture; elbow; heterotopic ossification; stiffness; ulnar neuropathy

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