Alleviate Symptoms of Elbow Bursitis with Innovative Treatments

If you are suffering from elbow bursitis or olecranon bursitis, a condition in which the bursa becomes inflamed and fills with extra fluid, Dr. Gregg A. Vagner can correctly diagnose your condition and provide the right treatment to help you heal. Elbow bursitis can lead to inflammation and tenderness at the tip of the elbow. By addressing the condition at the first sign of symptoms, you can prevent further issues and regain your quality of life. Dr. Vagner has been serving the Austin, TX, community since 2005, and he is committed to providing conservative, compassionate care to our community.

What Causes Elbow Bursitis?

The olecranon bursa is a fluid-filled cushion that provides lubrication between the skin and the tip of the elbow. When the synovial fluid inside the bursa becomes irritated or inflamed, elbow bursitis can occur. Sometimes referred to as student’s elbow or miner’s elbow, this type of bursitis is commonly caused by resting weight or putting repeated pressure on the tip of the elbow. Trauma can also trigger the condition, causing the bursa to fill with blood, resulting in inflammation of the outer synovial membrane. In other instances, elbow bursitis can be an effect of an underlying problem, such as arthritis and gout.

An image depicting elbow bursitis
Elbow bursitis is caused by repeatedly putting pressure on the tip of your elbow. 

Signs and Symptoms of Elbow Bursitis

The onset of elbow bursitis symptoms can be gradual, especially in chronic cases. While there is not typically a significant amount of pain associated with this condition, leaving it untreated can lead to infection. Some common indicators of elbow bursitis include:

  • Swelling: The nature of the swelling caused by elbow bursitis typically makes for an obvious diagnosis. When the olecranon bursa fills with fluid, it can be quite noticeable, resulting in a “goose egg” appearance.
  • Tenderness or Pain: Less than half of patients with elbow bursitis experience tenderness or pain, but if the area becomes infected, there can be a wide range of discomfort.
  • Redness: Occasionally, the skin around the irritated bursa can have a pink or reddish color. This occurs most often if there is infection present.
  • Warm to the Touch: If the bursa becomes inflamed or septic, it can cause the skin around the tip of the elbow to be warmer.
  • Fever: Elbow bursitis can be accompanied by chills or fever, particularly if there is infection present.

Typically, elbow bursitis does not have a significant impact on the range of motion. Most patients are able to flex and extend the arm. However, signs and symptoms should not be ignored. Due to risk of infection, it is important to schedule an appointment right away.

Sometimes referred to as student’s elbow or miner’s elbow, this type of bursitis is commonly caused by resting weight or putting repeated pressure on the tip of the elbow.

Diagnosing Elbow Bursitis

Dr. Vagner uses several diagnostic methods to determine the severity of your injury. Up-to-date training in the latest medical technologies allows him to provide optimal care with more conservative techniques. When you are treated for elbow bursitis in our practice, the diagnostic process includes:

  • Physical Examination: Dr. Vagner will perform a series of assessments, checking your pain points, range of motion, and joints. Any swelling will be noted, as it is typically quite visible in the case of elbow bursitis.
  • X-Rays: In some cases, X-rays or scans may be necessary to determine the origin of the problem.
  • Blood Test: To detect infection of the bursa, blood samples may be taken to detect glucose levels, which can be indicative of elbow bursitis.
  • Fluid Analysis: Depending on the situation, the synovial fluid may be analyzed. This is performed by removing the fluid from the bursa with a needle and syringe. In addition to providing a sample, it can also alleviate any discomfort by reducing the pressure.

Treatment Options for Elbow Bursitis

The type of treatment recommended for elbow bursitis will depend on the extent of your condition. Dr. Vagner can help you determine a regimen that will address your symptoms and alleviate any pain or discomfort. Some of the common treatments for elbow bursitis include:

  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation
  • NSAIDS (ibuprofen, naproxen)
  • Corticosteroid Injections
  • Antibiotics
  • Surgery (in rare cases)

Schedule a Consultation

If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of elbow bursitis, schedule an appointment with Dr. Vagner. You can call us at (512) 454-4561 or contact us online anytime.

Gregg A. Vagner, M.D.

Gregg A. Vagner, M.D.

Dr. Gregg A. Vagner is a double board-certified surgeon specializing in hand, wrist, and elbow injuries. With three locations in greater Austin, TX, Dr. Vagner provides conservative care for:

To request an appointment with Dr. Vagner, please contact us online or call (512) 454-4561.

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