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Olecranon Bursitis

Olecranon Bursitis | Spire Orthopaedic

The elbow bone is called the olecranon, which is covered by the olecranon bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that allows smooth movement between the bone and overlying skin. Inflammation of this bursa leads to a condition called olecranon bursitis. Olecranon bursitis is a painful condition and it may affect the functioning of the patient.

Causes of Olecranon Bursitis

Causes of Olecranon or elbow bursitis may be due to 

trauma or simply leaning on the elbow

infection through puncture wounds or insect bites

rheumatology conditions like Gout or Rheumatoid Arthritis

people in certain occupations such as plumbing or air conditioning technicians which involve a lot of crawling on the elbows are highly prone to this condition.

How is Olecranon Bursitis diagnosed

Elbow bursitis can be diagnosed by reviewing your medical history and undergoing a thorough physical exam. Your doctor may also order an X-ray and biopsy of the bursa fluid to test for infection. An x-ray may be done to rule out any bony pathology or fracture. Your doctor may also order an MRI to rule out any significant soft tissue tumors.

What are the treatments for an Olecranon Bursitis?

Conservative Options

The primary goal in treating a bursitis are focused on resolving the inflammation and pain.  If bursitis is caused by an infection your doctor may recommend removal of fluid from the bursa with a needle and prescribe antibiotics.

Rest is advised and any rigorous activities causing the bursitis pain are restricted .

Elbow bursitis not caused from infections can be treated with an elbow pad to cushion your elbows, avoiding activities that place direct pressure on the swollen elbow, taking anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling, or injection of corticosteroid medication directly into the bursa to relieve pain and swelling. These nonsurgical treatments provide relief from hip bursitis in most cases.


Sometimes, however, if the bursa is enlarging or too painful, your doctor may recommend surgical removal of the bursa if you do not respond to conservative treatment measures.


If you suspect that you might have  an elbow  problem or suspect that you might have an olecranon that you wish to consult, please do not hesitate to contact our team at Spire Orthopaedics. Book a consultation session with us if you have any questions for our Doctor.