What is olecranon bursitis?
A bursa is a small sac that contains a small amount of fluid. There are lots of bursae in the body, usually sandwiched between the skin and a bony prominence. They are essentially cushions.
Olecranon bursitis is inflammation and swelling in the bursa located at the tip of the elbow. If it does not settle down, treatment to reduce the fluid within the bursa, and settle the inflammation, may be needed.
How do we treat bursitis at the Mansfield Clinic?
The first step in treatment of olecranon bursitis is to use simple measures such as ice packs, painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication.
If the swelling caused by bursitis is particularly severe, you may need to consider having the fluid drained out. This procedure, known as aspiration, can relieve the pain in your joint. During aspiration, Dr Allfree will use a needle to draw out the fluid before covering the area with a dressing. You will need to avoid strenuous activity for about two days afterwards.
If your bursitis symptoms are very severe or they do not respond to simple treatment, steroid injections introduced into the inflamed bursa are another possible treatment option.
The olecranon bursa is the most common bursa to become inflamed. Inflammation causes swelling and a build-up of fluid within the bursa.
If the olecranon bursa is inflamed then it causes swelling at the back of the elbow. The bursa may fill with fluid. Most cases are painless, or are only mildly painful. Bursitis does not normally cause restriction of elbow movement.
If the bursa is infected then there will usually be pain, redness and tenderness behind the elbow.
Dr Allfree will normally be able to diagnose olecranon bursitis simply by examining your elbow. Special tests are not usually required.
Protecting the elbow from excessive friction may prevent further bouts of bursitis. This may mean using elbow pads if you lean on your elbows a lot.