Prolonged pressure on the elbow while doing a job or trauma to the elbow joint can put an individual at high risk of developing bursitis of the elbow which is a painful condition.
The bursa is small sac filled with fluid which functions as a cushion between the bones and soft tissues such as the tendons, muscles and the skin. Once inflammation of the bursa occurs, it is known as bursitis. Bursitis commonly happens in the elbow, shoulder and hip but also in the knee and heel. The elbow bursa is found between the loose skin and olecranon process in the elbow. Olecranon bone is the pointed bone that can be felt at the rear part of the elbow. The elbow bursa is even in its normal state, but when sore and irritated, it becomes distended due to the buildup of fluids. This condition can be treated with the application of rest, rest and some medications.
Causes of bursitis of the elbow
- When the bursa becomes inflamed and irritated, buildup of fluid occurs and the affected area becomes swollen.
- A direct hit or trauma to the elbow and elbow joint, especially on the pointed bony process can affect the elbow bursa.
- Placing pressure for a long period of time such as leaning on the tip of the elbow on the desk or any surface will eventually lead to the development of bursitis of the elbow. In most cases, it usually takes months to develop and certain occupations such as plumbing can put an individual at risk for this condition.
- An infection caused by insect bites, breaks in the skin caused by eczema and puncture wounds are few ways in which the bacteria can enter the fluid sac of bursa and trigger an infection. The infection will lead to swelling, redness, pain and heat. If not treated properly, the fluid inside the bursa becomes pus.
- Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout can also cause bursitis of the elbow.
Symptoms of bursitis of the elbow
- Swelling of the affected area
- Pain when applying pressure on the tip of the elbow or bending the elbow
- Restricted movement of the elbow
- If the bursa is infected, the skin of the elbow becomes red and warm.
- Sometimes, there is opening in the bursa and pus drains out.
Treatment for bursitis of the elbow
- Rest the elbow joint in order to minimize the swelling and prevent further worsening of the condition. When swelling and pain is minimized, slowly move the elbow.
- Apply an ice pack in order to minimize pain, swelling and redness caused by bursitis of the elbow.
- Compress the elbow using an elastocrepe bandage in order to prevent excess buildup of fluids but make sure that the compression is not be too tight since it prevents proper circulation of blood in the area.
- Elevate the affected arm on a pillow or cushion at the level of the heart to help minimize the inflammation.
- Take over-the-counter pain medications in order to relieve the pain and swelling.