In your joints are small, fluid-filled sacs called bursa, and they help provide cushioning and shock absorption for your joints. If a bursa within an elbow joint gets inflamed, this is called olecranon bursitis, and it can cause pain and hinder your ability to use your affected elbow.
At Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Metairie, Louisiana, Robert Douglas Bostick III, MD, has treated many patients with olecranon bursitis. In this blog, he explains more about the condition and how it can be treated.
The basics of olecranon bursitis
As mentioned, your joints have bursa, which are fluid-filled sacs that help cushion your joints. If a bursa gets inflamed, it’s called elbow bursitis or olecranon bursitis.
Olecranon bursitis can either be chronic or acute, and it’s often caused by overuse of the elbow joint. The condition can cause a number of symptoms, including the following:
- Warmth or redness
If your bursitis occurs as the result of an injury, the swelling can be severe due to bleeding within your elbow. This can make moving your elbow extremely painful.
Causes of olecranon bursitis
Your elbow joints take a lot of wear and tear, even in normal life. But if you’re active or have a job that requires repetitive motions, it puts you at a much higher risk of developing bursitis. Common causes of olecranon bursitis include the following:
- Repetitive elbow motions
- Trauma to the elbow
- Constant pressure on the elbow
- Elbow infections
- Bone spurs
Any activity that requires you to repeatedly use your arms and elbows can lead to the development of olecranon bursitis. For example, activities that can lead to this condition include tennis, baseball, gardening, painting, and carpentry.
Tips to manage olecranon bursitis
There are a number of treatments that can help ease the discomfort of olecranon bursitis, including the following:
Placing padding on your affected elbow can help ease bursitis pain. Doing this can be especially helpful if you have to lean on or work on your elbows a lot. The padding can help protect your joint from further inflammation and pain.
Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can help reduce the inflammation associated with bursitis. Dr. Bostick can also prescribe medications to help ease the pain. If your condition is caused by an infection, you’ll likely need antibiotics to clear the infection.
Take a break
If repeated stress on your elbow joint is causing your bursitis, the best treatment is rest. Keep your elbow from strenuous activities until it heals.
If the measures mentioned above don’t ease your pain, Dr. Bostick can discuss corticosteroid injections. These injections can reduce the inflammation and pain.
If conservative measures don’t relieve your pain, it could be a chronic issue. If this is the case, Dr. Bostick can discuss surgery to remove the bursa in your elbow. This treatment is typically performed as an outpatient procedure.
If you’re dealing with olecranon bursitis and need expert care, Dr. Bostick can help. To learn more, call 504-541-5800 or book an appointment online with Metairie Orthopedics & Sports Medicine today.