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Know Your Treatment Options for Elbow Bursitis


Bursae are fluid-filled sacs in joints. They act as cushions and allow ligaments, muscles, and tendons to glide over bones in the joint. Elbow bursitis is inflammation of the bursa at the bone tip (olecranon) of the elbow. Normally, the olecranon bursa lies flat at the tip of the elbow, but it can become swollen, inflamed, and irritated.

At Dignity Health, our orthopedic specialists offer orthopedic care with humankindness. We can diagnose your elbow condition or injury and provide personalized treatment. To find relief for elbow bursitis in the Bay Area, Find a Doctor online today.

Elbow Bursitis Causes

Causes of elbow bursitis include:

  • Infection
  • Inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
  • Repetitive motion or overuse injury
  • Trauma

Acute elbow bursitis that keeps occurring can cause chronic elbow bursitis. With each attack, the bursa thickens and can develop chalky deposits and fibrous tissue.

Elbow Bursitis Symptoms

Acute elbow bursitis comes on suddenly and the symptoms last only a short time. Elbow bursitis can also become chronic, lasting several weeks. Some cases of elbow bursitis come and go over time. 

Elbow bursitis can cause many issues with the elbow, including: 

  • Limited range of motion
  • Redness
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Warmth

Elbow Bursitis Treatment in the Bay Area

Your treatment options depend on your risk factors, medical history, the cause of your bursitis, and the severity of your symptoms. Our goals for your treatment are relieving your pain and swelling, and preventing future attacks and elbow joint damage. 

The primary treatments for noninfectious elbow bursitis include resting the joint and taking anti-inflammatory medicines. In some cases, your Dignity Health doctor may recommend injecting corticosteroid medication into the elbow joint. In rare cases, surgery is necessary.

Infectious bursitis is treated with antibiotics. Your doctor may also need to perform surgery to drain the infected bursa.

Physical therapy can help speed recovery, strengthen the joint, and prevent future episodes of elbow bursitis. Range-of-motion exercises are key to managing chronic elbow bursitis.

Trust every part of your orthopedic care for elbow bursitis to Dignity Health — call 844.387.6324 today for a doctor referral.

Dignity Health provides specialized treatment plans for elbow bursitis in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, and Redwood City.