Elbow Bursitis

Elbow Bursitis, or Olecranon Bursitis, is commonly referred to as ‘Popeye elbow’, ‘Gamer’s elbow’, and ‘Student’s elbow’. This condition occurs when the olecranon is swollen due to the bursa becoming inflamed or infected. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac within the joint that promotes cushioning for the elbow.

Elbow bursitis makes the elbow appear very swollen, puffy, and red with an abnormal bulge.

Causes and Symptoms of Elbow Bursitis

Elbow bursitis is caused by trauma, pressure, infection, or medical conditions in the bursa. Common causes of elbow bursitis include:

  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Prolonged leaning on the elbow
  • Injuries that cause bleeding or fluid buildup
  • Infection within the elbow
  • Blood-borne infections

Symptoms of elbow bursitis include:

  • Pain with movement
  • Significant swelling
  • Tenderness upon touching
  • Redness
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Diagnosis & Treatment

By going over your medical history and giving a physical exam, a doctor can determine whether or not you have elbow bursitis. Additional x-rays may be required if it is suspected you have sustained a serious injury like a fractured or broken bone.

If necessary, fluid can be drained as a means of treatment, but also can be tested if infection is suspected. The elbow’s skin is usually loose and stretchy, meaning if swelling occurs the condition has been present for a while. It is important to seek medical attention upon noticing any significant swelling. Occasionally the bursa can spontaneously rupture to drain itself, or if infected, it can leak into the bloodstream and cause a serious illness.

Compression bandages can help stabilize joints and ice packs can be applied to reduce swelling. Medicines like anti-inflammatories can be taken orally and hydrocortisone can be injected to decrease inflammation. Chronic bursitis can be treated with different sitting techniques, antibiotics and surgery.

Treat Elbow Bursitis at South Florida Hand and Orthopaedic Center

The doctors at South Florida Hand and Orthopaedic Center treat a variety of conditions related to the hands, fingers, wrists, elbows, and joints. If you believe you may have elbow bursitis, contact our team of specialists today. To book an appointment, call our office at (561) 241-4758.