The bursa is a protective fluid-filled sac found between tissues like bone, muscles, and tendons – including the elbow joint. Elbow bursitis (olecranon bursitis) is an inflammation of this bursa sac. It causes pain and prominent swelling on the back side of the elbow.
Inflammation of the bursa is often tied to an injury or from prolonged work-related pressure on the elbow, but it may not have a direct cause. Frequently, a large amount of fluid will build up in the bursa sac that might require drainage in the office.
Primary symptoms include a squishy lump that protrudes on the back side of the elbow, accompanied by pain and stiffness of the elbow joint. Extreme pain and swelling could signal an infection and requires speedy medical intervention.
Our board-certified, fellowship-trained doctor will perform a thorough physical examination and assess your medical history. He or she will check for tenderness and assess your elbow’s range of motion and may use x-rays to help diagnose this condition. Additional lab tests can determine whether the bursa is infected.
Treatment usually involves resting the elbow and avoiding pressure on the tip of the joint until the condition goes away. Applying cold packs and compression wraps can prevent swelling from returning. Oral anti-inflammatory medications may also help. Draining the fluid can relieve the pressure; it is an in-office procedure.
If you are experiencing persistent pain, tingling, or weakness from cubital tunnel syndrome, contact Orthopedic Specialists. Our board-certified, fellowship-trained doctors are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of all elbow conditions.