Olecranon bursitis

Olecranon bursitis involves inflammation of the small-sized sacs of fluid at the olecranon bursa at the rear of the elbow. This sac of fluid is responsible for allowing the joint to smoothly move.

What are the possible causes?

The main causes of olecranon bursitis include the following:

Olecranon bursitis
Elbow pain especially when the joint is moved or if pressure is placed.
  • Inflammation due to pressure on the bursa or from inflammatory conditions
  • Infection due to injury at the site of the bursa, one that affects the tissue close to the bursa and a blood-borne infection


  • Elbow pain especially when the joint is moved or if pressure is placed
  • Swelling which is evident as a lump felt in the rear part of the affected elbow. This is usually caused by increased fluid inside the bursa and tenderness during movement or when touched.
  • Redness, warmth, fever, red streaks and swollen lymph nodes in the armpit due to infection.


The treatment for an acute case of olecranon bursitis includes drainage of excess fluid in the sac using a needle that is followed by injections of medications to reduce the inflammation and promote the healing process.

The management of a chronic case is aimed on teaching the individual to avoid leaning on his/her elbows, protection while engaging in sports using elbow padding and anti-inflammatory medications. In some cases, antibiotics might be used to manage the infection while surgery is required to drain or remove the affected bursa.

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