Elbow bursitis

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Elbow bursitis occurs if the olecranon or the point of the elbow is irritated or inflamed. In most cases, the condition is brought about by repeated injury such as falls onto the elbow or if it rubs against hard surfaces which leads to the irritation of the bursa.


What are the signs?

  • Swelling of the bursa at the point of the elbow that triggers pain
  • Difficulty bending and straightening the elbow
  • Redness and warmth
  • Oftentimes, the fluid within the bursa can become infected
    Elbow bursitis
    Swelling of the bursa at the point of the elbow that triggers pain.

Management of elbow bursitis

Some of the measures in managing elbow bursitis include:

  • Application of an ice pack or pack of frozen vegetables that is covered with a clean towel or cloth on the affected elbow every 3-4 hours for up to 20 minutes at a time until the swelling and pain settles.
  • With an elastic bandage, cover the elbow to prevent further swelling of the bursa.
  • Padding must be used to protect the elbow.
  • An anti-inflammatory medication can be taken as instructed by the doctor. It is vital to carefully read the labels and use as directed.

There are cases in which the doctor might suggest removal of some of the fluid in the bursa using a needle and syringe. In serious cases, especially the chronic ones, it might necessitate surgical extraction of the bursa.

The recovery is based on various factors including the health, age, previous injuries and seriousness of the injury. The discomfort typically subsides in a few weeks, but the swelling can last for several months.

It is important to note that elbow bursitis can be prevented by avoiding direct exposure to the elbow point. Irritation of the bursa must can be prevented by avoiding leaning on surfaces.


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