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ELBOW OLECRANON BURSITIS                                       KANDIL NOTES


  • Elbow olecranon bursitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation of one of the elbow bursae between the elbow olecranon bone and overlying skin

  • A bursa is a fluid filled sac that serves as a lubricant between muscles/tendons to allow for smooth frictionless motion

  • When irritated, the bursa inflames and becomes filled with fluid, thereby causing pain 


  • There are many potential causes for elbow olecranon bursitis. Most commonly, it is due to hitting the elbow on a hard surface or repetitive activity involving the elbow rubbing against the overlying skin and leading to inflammation

  • Other causes include direct trauma or fall on the elbow, tendinopathy of surrounding tendons, or idiopathic with no known cause


  • Patients with elbow olecranon bursitis have pain in the back of the elbow

  • They often report tenderness to palpation over the back of the elbow and pain with repetitive elbow motion


A course of rest, compression wrap, ice, and anti-inflammatories is the mainstay of treatment for elbow olecranon bursitis

  • Aspiration may be an option in patients with significant elbow olecranon bursitis

  • If there is concern, aspiration and antibiotics may be started

  • Surgery is only considered in patients with failure of extensive conservative management

  • Surgery consists of bursa excision 


  • Avoiding constant resting of the elbow on hard surfaces without pads and repetitive elbow motions can help decrease the chance of elbow olecranon bursitis

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