radial tunnel syndrome

What is Elbow Bursitis?

Olecranon bursitis, also called elbow bursitis, is an irritation of the olecranon bursa. The bursae are small, fluid filled sacs that cushion and protect the joints throughout the body. When they become irritated and inflamed, the condition is known as bursitis.

Common causes of elbow bursitis are:

  • Overuse
  • A blow to the tip of the elbow
  • An infection due to a bite or puncture wound
  • Medical conditions such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis

Presenting symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Red, warm skin (when infected)

Following a review of your symptoms, medical history, and a physical exam, the doctor may recommend an x-ray and testing of the fluid inside the bursa.

Olecranon Bursitis Treatment

Usually, a combination of the following nonsurgical treatment options is used to decrease inflammation, swelling, and pain:

  1. Activity modification. Slowing down or stopping activities that cause bursitis flare-ups.
  2. Anti-inflammatory medications. Decrease inflammation and pain.
  3. A tiny needle is inserted into the bursae and drains excess fluid.
  4. Medications used to treat an infection.

In severe cases, bursitis may be treated using surgical intervention. In cases of olecranon bursitis where the bursa is infected and does not respond to antibiotics or draining, surgery may be needed to remove the entire bursa.