Elbow Bursitis

What is Elbow Bursitis?

Bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa; a fluid-filled sac encased in a synovial membrane which provides a cushion between bones and tendons and/or muscles of a joint. The Olecranon bone is the pointy bone of the elbow, the bursa lies between the Olecranon and the skin, it allows the skin to glide easily over the bone.

Sometimes, the bursa can become inflamed or irritated, it accumulates extra fluid and develops a painful swelling. This painful swelling is called Olecranon Bursitis or Elbow Bursitis.

Elbow Bursitis is commonly treated with non-invasive remedies. However, in case symptoms persist or worsen, elbow bursitis treatment will include surgical options.

The causes of Elbow Bursitis include:

  • Trauma to the elbow such as a direct hit to the bone which may also cause Olecranon fracture
  • Pressure on the elbow from leaning or resting arms on elbow for a prolonged time
  • Medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and kidney failure, etc.
  • Infected bursa from a scrape, cut, and/or insect bite.

What are the Symptoms of Elbow Bursitis?

The most common symptoms of Elbow Bursitis include:

  • Swelling at the tip of the elbow. Depending on the severity of the condition, swelling may be mild or severe.
  • Pain is the second most common symptom; Elbow Bursitis may cause pain in the elbow.
  • Redness and warmth around the elbow tip
  • Tenderness around the elbow
  • Pus in the bursa can ooze from a wound at the elbow.
A man is detenting bandage who is suffering from 'Elbow Bursitis'

What is the Best Elbow Bursitis Treatment?

The aim of Elbow Bursitis treatment is to provide relief from pain and discomfort, as well as to prevent or cure the infected bursa. The following steps are commonly administered to treat a non-septic bursa:

  • Rest your elbow; avoid strenuous activity.
  • Protect your elbow by wearing a pad or brace
  • Apply Ice to reduce swelling. Ice packs can be applied multiple times in a day for 15 minutes each to reduce redness and swelling.
  • Gentle compressions with the help of Ace wrap or neoprene elbow sleeve can help to reduce swelling and pain
  • Pain medication such as ibuprofen can alleviate discomfort

Elbow Bursitis Treatment for Infected Bursa

If you have an infection in the bursa, the following steps will be administered:

  • Anti-Inflammatory medication is prescribed by the doctor.
  • In case the antibiotics fail to improve the condition after 3-4 weeks, the doctor may drain the bursa by inserting a syringe and taking out the excess fluid. The bursa may need to be drained repeatedly.
  • The doctor will also administer a cortisone injection into the bursa to suppress inflammation.

Surgical Elbow Bursitis Treatment

If the symptoms are not alleviated, invasive Elbow Bursitis treatment is prescribed. The surgical solution is to remove the bursa altogether. Elbow Bursitis surgery can be:

  • Open surgical procedure or Open bursectomy
  • Arthroscopic elbow surgery or Endoscopic bursectomy

In case the bursa has become infected after Olecranon fracture, elbow fracture surgery is also performed. Depending on the severity of the fracture, broken elbow recovery time after surgery ranges from 2-8 weeks. A broken elbow surgery is considered if the fracture cannot heal with a cast/brace.

How Long Does Elbow Surgery Take to Heal?

Commonly, elbow surgery recovery takes 3-4 weeks after surgery. The surgical wound heals within 16-20 days of surgery, but It takes the bursa several months to grow back. After surgery, patients may be prescribed:

  • A splint to support the elbow
  • Physical Therapy

Medical Conditions Caused by Elbow Bursitis

It is critical to seek immediate Elbow Bursitis treatment because it can trigger other medical conditions:

  1. The olecranon bursa is adjacent to the ulnar nerve. In rare situations, Olecranon Bursitis may cause nerve compression syndrome in the ulnar nerve. An elbow nerve surgery is performed to treat the condition.
  2. Bursitis may also trigger tendinopathy, the most common of which is tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis. Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the elbow tendons which causes pain and swelling. If non-invasive treatments fail, tennis elbow surgery is recommended to treat the inflamed tendon.

Does Tennis Elbow Surgery work?

Tennis Elbow Surgery is a successful surgical procedure which removes the inflamed tendon to improve pain and movement. 80-90% of patients who opt for Tennis Elbow Surgery report satisfactory outcomes.

Tennis elbow surgery recovery time is 6-8 months.

Where to get the Best Elbow Bursitis Treatment?

Complete Medical Wellness (CMW) is a state-of-the-art medical facility in New Jersey. It is one of the leading orthopedic institutes in NJ, which provides a wide range of orthopedic treatments. The facility has a team of the best, board-certified orthopedic surgeons in NJ.

Small things can lead to bigger problems; don’t ignore the pain in your elbow. Get it examined today to receive effective Elbow Bursitis treatment in NJ.