Bursitis is a painful condition that involves inflammation of the bursae, the fluid-filled sacs that cushion joints throughout the body. A bursa may become inflamed for various reasons such as overuse or trauma and is characterized by swelling, redness, and stiff and achy joints. The large joints of the shoulder, knees, elbows, and hips are typically affected by bursitis.
Elbow (olecranon) bursitis usually occurs at the back or tip of the elbow. The bursa at the elbow is usually flat but swells up when it becomes irritated or inflamed. The usual culprits are infection, a direct blow to the area, or resting the tips of your elbows on a hard surface for prolonged periods of time. Technicians, athletes, and people with rheumatoid arthritis or gout are prone to developing elbow bursitis.
In most cases, elbow bursitis goes away within a few weeks with self-care remedies. In some cases, seeing a doctor for nonsurgical or surgical treatments may be necessary. Many patients with bursitis usually experience a recurrence.
Conventional treatments include resting the affected area and preventing its use. In addition, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may also be used to manage pain symptoms.
If your elbow bursitis is the result of an infection, your orthopedic doctor will perform a needle aspiration to remove the fluid from the bursa. This will help relieve the symptoms you are experiencing and provide a sample to send to a lab for testing. If it is a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
For bursitis caused by repetitive stress, your doctor may prescribe assistive devices such as elbow sleeves, wraps, or pads to compress and cushion your elbow. In addition, you will be advised to avoid activities that put pressure on your elbow. Physical therapy can help you strengthen muscles in the area.
If your pain and swelling persist after a month, your doctor may aspirate the bursa and inject a powerful anti-inflammatory medication such as a corticosteroid into it. If these methods fail to work, then surgery may be recommended.
Surgery for elbow bursitis usually entails the removal of the bursa. After it is removed, another (noninflamed) bursa will grow back in its place, usually within a few months.
This surgery can be performed as a minimally invasive procedure, without disturbing nearby joints, muscles, and/or ligaments. It is an outpatient procedure with little downtime afterward.
After the procedure, your doctor will splint your arm to protect it from reinjury and infection and recommend a physical rehabilitation program to begin a few days after surgery to strengthen your muscles and improve your range of motion.
Within a month, you should be able to fully use your below.
Elbow Bursitis Treatment in South Texas
Our team of board-certified physicians at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine provides specialized care to our patients. Using the latest orthopedic techniques and technologies, we can alleviate your bursitis pain and help restore maximum function of your elbow.
To schedule an appointment, please call us at (210) 692-7400 or use our secure appointment form.