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Houston Olecranon Bursitis Treatment

Olecranon Bursitis (commonly referred to as elbow bursitis) is named for its location over the olecranon bone, which lies at the back of the elbow. Bursitis is the inflammation of the “bursa” – a sack of fluid located over a weight-bearing area providing cushion and reducing friction during movement.


  • Pain – especially with movement of the elbow or pressure on the elbow.
  • Swelling – a lump may be felt in the back of the affected elbow. The swell¬ing or lump is caused by increased fluid within the bursa.
  • Redness – red streaking, warmth, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in the arm caused by infection.


  • Pressure placed on the bursa or from inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis resulting in inflammation.
  • Trauma to the elbow, causing bleeding or fluid buildup.
  • Infection resulting from an injury at the site of the bursa, or an infection spreading to the bursa, or a blood-borne infection.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Olecranon bursitis is diagnosed after a review of your medical history and a physical examination. X-rays may also be necessary to determine whether there is a spur at the tip of the olecranon or if a fracture is present. Suppose there is a concern about an infection in the elbow. In that case, it may be necessary to drain fluid from the elbow with a needle and have the fluid tested by a laboratory.

Treatment for Acute Bursitis (sudden) may include; padded dressing and anti-inflammatory medication, drainage of excess fluid in the sac with a needle, and injections of medication such as cortisone to decrease inflammation and swelling. For Chronic Bursitis (persistent), treatment may include; educating on behavior changes (avoid leaning on the elbows, protecting the elbows during sports activities with elbow pads), anti-inflammatory medications or antibiotic medications to treat an infection if present, and surgery to drain or remove the bursa.

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