Elbow bursitis is a potentially painful condition that occurs when the olecranon bursa, a fluid-filled sac on the bony tip of the elbow, becomes irritated or inflamed. Normally thin and flexible, the olecranon bursa cushions the elbow and reduces friction during movement. However, it can thicken and swell due to overuse or trauma, such as a fall onto the point of the elbow. Additionally, people who habitually rest their elbows on a hard surface, such as a desk, are prone to developing elbow bursitis.
What Are the Symptoms of Elbow Bursitis?
The most common symptom of elbow bursitis is swelling around the bony prominence of the joint. If pain develops, it is usually felt at the back of the elbow and may cause stiffness that restricts movement. However, it is important to note that other conditions, such as elbow arthritis and tennis elbow, can cause similar symptoms.
For an accurate diagnosis, you can turn to the board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeons at Premier Bone & Joint Centers. With a satellite clinic in Rock Springs, Wyoming, we make it easy for area residents and visitors to receive outstanding orthopedic care.
How Is Elbow Bursitis Treated?
In most cases, conservative treatment will settle an inflamed bursa. For instance, we often recommend ice applications, over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and compression to alleviate painful swelling. Also, rest and avoidance of activities that aggravate the condition are critical to healing.
Sometimes, elbow bursitis worsens despite conservative treatment. In this situation, we may suggest draining fluid from the inflamed bursa. Using ultrasound guidance, a physician can precisely puncture the bursa with a hollow needle (cannula), draw out excess fluid, and administer a small dose of cortisone to help prevent fluid from building up again.
If you would like to consult with a specialist who is experienced in managing elbow conditions, including elbow bursitis, contact Premier Bone & Joint Centers today to set up an appointment at our satellite clinic in Rock Springs, WY.