A new study is being conducted by the Alberta Health Services and the University of Calgary that could help people suffering from debilitating joint stiffness.

Early research has shown that Ketotifen, a common asthma drug, can limit the body’s release of a growth factor that causes joints to stiffen.

The active ingredient prevents similar cells from thickening and causing airways to narrow.

The research is good news in particular for those who’ve suffered elbow injuries.

About 15 percent of those patients will develop severe joint stiffness which may require surgery to correct. That surgery, however, may not fully correct the problem.

Experts say that this joint stiffness can be extremely debilitating. “Losing a range of motion after an elbow fracture or dislocation can be debilitating and make simple tasks such as dressing, eating or shaving almost impossible,” says Dr. Kevin Hildebrand with the AHS in a release.

Researchers are now hoping to find 150 people who have been injured for less than a week or whose surgery to repair an elbow injury is less than a week old to participate in the study.

Participants will be randomly assigned a course of Ketotifen and a placebo and then tested to see how their stiffness has been affected.

All study participants will continue to receive the regular standard of care for their injuries and their recovery will be tracked for one year.

Anyone interested in participating in the study should contact the study co-ordinator at 587-225-2959.

About 400 elbow injuries are treated every year in Calgary.