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Expert Care for Elbow Bursitis in Southern California


Elbow bursitis is similar to tendonitis — it’s an inflammation of the cushioning structure (bursa) at the tip of the elbow. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac in the elbow joint that cushions the tendons, muscles, and ligaments, allowing them to glide smoothly over bones in the joint.

If you have symptoms of elbow bursitis in Southern California, an orthopedic doctor can diagnose the problem and provide treatment. To find one who’s right for you, use our online search tool to Find a Doctor at Dignity Health Southern California.

Symptoms of Elbow Bursitis

Acute elbow bursitis can bring sudden symptoms that go away quickly. Elbow bursitis can also be a chronic condition, lasting up to several weeks or months.

Primarily, elbow bursitis symptoms include:

  • Elbow pain
  • Tenderness
  • Redness and warmth
  • Stiffness
  • Swelling

If you or a loved one is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, speak with an expert at Dignity Health Southern California for diagnosis and personalized treatment.

Causes of Elbow Bursitis

The most common causes of elbow bursitis are injuries from overuse and prolonged pressure — often seen in people that lean on their elbows while typing or that crawl and lean on their elbows while working (such as plumbers or heating and cooling technicians).

Other elbow bursitis causes include: 

  • Inflammatory conditions (gout and rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Infection, caused by a puncture wound, insect bite, or scrape at the elbow tip
  • Injury, such as a hard blow to the tip of the elbow

Chronic elbow bursitis can be caused by recurring bouts of acute elbow bursitis. Each time there is inflammation in the bursa, it thickens and develops fibrous tissue and chalky deposits.

Elbow Bursitis Treatment at Dignity Health Southern California

Elbow bursitis treatment will depend on the severity of the problem. The main goals for treatment include alleviating pain, swelling, and preventing future inflammation and joint damage. Initially, your doctor may recommend rest and anti-inflammatory medicines.

For stronger relief from pain and inflammation, your doctor may prescribe corticosteroid shots. In some cases, elbow surgery for bursitis may be necessary. Physical therapy may be part of your treatment, especially for chronic bursitis. 

If you have infectious bursitis, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to aid recovery. In some instances, your doctor may need to drain the infected bursa.

For a professional diagnosis of your elbow injury symptoms, visit one of our hospitals near you:

At Dignity Health Southern California, our skilled orthopedic doctors offer a wide array of noninvasive and minimally invasive procedures to treat elbow bursitis.