In many cases, the first sign of bursitis is swelling at the elbow.

INJURY
Elbow Olecranon Bursitis

ALSO KNOWN AS
Elbow Bursitis

ABOUT
Bursae act as cushions between bones and soft tissues, their slippery sacs are located throughout the body and contain a small amount of fluid that allows skin to move freely over the underlying bone. The olecranon bursa is between the loose skin and the pointy bone at the back of the elbow.

COMMON INJURY

The olecranon bursa is flat, however if it becomes irritated or inflamed, fluid will accumulate and a bursitis will develop. This can happen for a number of reasons – trauma, prolonged pressure, infection or other medical conditions.


DIAGNOSIS
You and your SMGOA physician will discuss your symptoms including swelling, pain and red or warm skin. A physical exam will be completed and often an x-ray will be ordered to look for a bone spur or other foreign body.

NON SURGICAL TREATMENT
Most commonly, the bursa is drained with a needle in an office setting. The fluid removed can alleviate symptoms and allow your physician to test the fluid for bacteria and other infections.

SURGICAL TREATMENT
Surgery is most often considered for infected bursa that does not improve with antiobiotics. The infected bursa is removed and a non-inflamed, normally functioning bursa grows back over a period of several months.

Elbow Bursitis
In elbow bursitis, the bursa fills with fluid, causing pain and limiting movement.
Image courtesy of AAOS