Olecranon bursitis is the technical name for swelling of the bursa, or fluid-filled sac, on the tip of the elbow. In this video, I discuss the problem and what you can do to recover from it.

Signs and symptoms of olecranon bursitis

If you have olecranon bursitis, you will notice a large amount of swelling on the tip of your elbow. It usually doesn’t hurt, but it can be uncomfortable applying pressure to it such as resting your elbow on a table. People who drive with their elbow resting on the window of the car often develop this problem.

Treatment options

Fortunately, most patients with olecranon bursitis can get better without surgery. Often simply avoiding direct pressure on the area can help. Ice and wearing an elbow pad can help too.

Sometimes the doctor or orthopedic surgeon will try a cortisone shot into the bursa to decrease inflammation. That can be helpful to decrease swelling.

Patient with olecranon bursitis of his elbow

Surgery for olecranon bursitis

Surgery is rarely needed unless none of the non-surgical treatments help the swelling go down. On rare occasions, though, the bursa can get infected. If it’s red, warm or draining, a patient can have a septic olecranon bursitis that needs surgery to get rid of the infection.

Also read:
Who is likely to need surgery for tennis elbow?
Snapping nerve in the elbow

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