Elbow Bursitis

Elbow Bursitis is also known as Olecranon Bursitis. The olecranon is a pointed bone that forms the tip of the elbow. The bursa is the fluid sac that lies between the olecranon and the skin on the elbow. It enables the skin to slide over the bone smoothly without irritation.

If it gets irritated or inflamed, the bursa can swell up and enlarge. This inflammation is referred to as bursitis.

Causes  |  Symptoms  |  Treatment Options

What Causes Elbow Bursitis?

The cause of elbow bursitis may be unknown in some cases. However, some known causes include:  

  • Direct impact on the bursa
  • Prolonged pressure on the tip of your elbow.
  • Engaging in jobs that require you to crawl, thus engaging the elbow
  • Pre-existing conditions such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis

What are the Symptoms of Elbow Bursitis?

There are various symptoms of elbow bursitis; the following are some common ones: 

  • Swelling at the elbow tip 
  • The swelling is usually gradual, but in some cases, it might develop quickly
  • Warm and red skin around the elbow
  • In some rare cases, the inflamed bursa can get infected

Elbow Bursitis Treatment

In standard cases, painkillers and rest will be sufficient, and you will recover in about a month. However, if the swelling does not subside or remains symptomatic, further intervention may help.

Non-Surgical Treatment for Elbow Bursitis

    • Rest
      As simple as it sounds, resting the elbow can help heal bursitis. Stay clear of activities that put direct pressure on your elbow. The swelling may not fully resolve as the scarred bursa may sometimes remain thickened.
    • Anti-Inflammatory Medications
      Our doctors may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications initially to help to reduce the swelling and reduce the pain you are experiencing in your elbow.

Surgical Treatment for Elbow Bursitis

    • Elbow Arthroscopy
      The fluid in larger lumps can be aspirated with a needle in a clinic setting. While this may reduce the overall size, there will likely be residual fluid and swelling within the lump. The fluid may also reaccumulate over the next few days if the underlying inflammation has not resolved.In symptomatic or recurrent cases, the bursa can be surgically excised through an incision in the back of the elbow or via arthroscopic (keyhole) techniques. In symptomatic or recurrent cases, the bursa can be surgically excised through an incision in the back of the elbow.