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Bursitis of the elbow

Elbow bursitis is an inflammation of the elbow, in the small sacs of fluid (bursae) that cushion and lubricate the areas between tendons and bones. Bursae are located throughout the body. In the elbow they cushion between the pointy bone at the back and the loose skin. Should this become irritated, additional fluid will fill up the bursa and create bursitis.

Causes and risk factors of elbow bursitis

  • Extended pressure on the tip of the elbow
  • Trauma to the elbow, allowing extra fluid to fill the bursa
  • Infection such as puncture or insect bite, allowing for bacteria to enter the bursa
  • Medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout

Symptoms of bursitis in the elbow

  • Swelling
  • Pain at the tip of elbow
  • Paint with elbow movement
  • Irritated skin at infection site

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis and treatment are important with this condition, as with any damage to the elbow. If the bursitis is not related to an infection, nonsurgical treatments such as rest, ice, elbow pads, change of activity, and anti-inflammatory medicines can be effective. Occasionally, this can be treated with aspiration of the fluid and injection of a corticosteroid. If symptoms do not resolve, your doctor may discuss surgical treatment.