Elbow Bursitis.Elbow bursitis is very common and very painful! Read on to find out more.
Elbow bursitis is where there is an inflamed and/or infected bursa around your elbow. The most common elbow bursitis that I see is olecronon bursitis. Olecronon bursitis is an inflammation of the bursa situated behind your elbow and often appears like a soft table tennis-like ball at the back of your elbow.
The causes of elbow bursitis are usually a result of overuse of the elbow. It can also occur from excess pressure being placed on the elbow over time. For example, it happened to me when I was studying for my final exams! I was leaning on my right elbow a lot while studying and eventually the result was olecronon bursitis.
Another common presentation that I see is where a manual worker is repetitively extending his elbow daily at his work. A recent example was a carpenter who was repetitively hammering nails into the floor. As a result of this movement his tendons and bursa around the back of his elbow became inflamed. Thankfully, he called to me at an early stage and with rest, ice and exercises he has had a full recovery and is back nailing again! However, he now takes breaks every hour and varies the work he is doing in the day to prevent it from re-occurring. I will review him in two months!
The treatment of elbow bursitis involves treating the bursitis and then removing the cause of the bursitis. Treating the bursitis involves rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medication in most cases. If there is an infection in the bursa, early antibiotic medication is a must. If rest and ice does not settle your bursitis quickly a cortisone injection into the bursa is my advice. Cortisone is a strong anti-inflammatory drug injected directly into the bursa and has usually good results.
If all conservative treatment fails you may have to have your elbow bursa surgically removed. However, I rarely advise this unless all else truly fails.
Removing the cause generally involves a physiotherapy opinion. A good physiotherapy assessment will identify which muscles in your arm are too weak and also the ones that are too strong. An exercise programme will be devised specifically for you to resolve the cause of your bursitis.
If you dont, your elbow bursitis may re-occur sooner than you think!
If the cause of your bursitis is a result of excess pressure on the elbow an elbow padded support will be administered to take the pressure off the bursa as you work.
Arthritis and gout can be the cause of bursitis so, if you are prone to bursitis and have one or both of the two mentioned conditions, do all that you can to avoid a flare up of your arthritis and gout. Prevention is always better than cure! Use alternative therapies also, as they usually help greatly.
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