A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between tendons, bones, and skin. Irritation or inflammation of a bursa is called bursitis. The point of the elbow is called the olecranon. Pain or swelling at the point of the elbow is called olecranon bursitis, or elbow bursitis.
Repeated injury, such as falling onto the elbow or rubbing the elbow against a hard surface, irritates the bursa.
The bursa at the point of the elbow is swollen. This swelling may be painful. It may hurt to bend and straighten your elbow. There may be warmth and redness. Sometimes the fluid inside the bursa can get infected.
Your healthcare provider will review your symptoms and examine your elbow.
To treat this condition:
Your provider may remove some of the bursa fluid with a needle and syringe. In some cases, ongoing (chronic) bursitis may require surgical removal of the bursa.
The length of recovery depends on many factors such as your age, health, and if you have had a previous injury. Recovery time also depends on the severity of the injury. The pain is usually gone within a few weeks, but there may be swelling for up to several months. Ask your healthcare provider when you can return to your normal activities.
Elbow bursitis can be best prevented by avoiding direct contact to the point of your elbow. It is important not to irritate the bursa by leaning your elbow onto a surface such as a table or a desk.