Elbow (Olecranon) Bursitis

Dr Marcus Chia - Elbow Surgeon

Dr Marcus Chia offers specialist management and surgery of elbow bursitis which occurs in the olecranon bursa, a thin, fluid-filled sac located at the tip of the elbow.

Bursae are located throughout the body and act to prevent irritation between bones and soft tissues such as skin and tendons. They contain a small amount of lubricating fluid to allow to allow tissues to move freely over one another. If a bursa becomes irritated or inflamed more fluid accumulates within the bursa and the result is bursitis.

Elbow bursitis can occur due to inflammation as a result of trauma or repetitive pressure by leaning on the elbow; or due to infection as a result of a break in the skin due to an insect bite, scratch or wound.

The first symptom of bursitis is swelling over the tip of the elbow. This can be painful particularly when leaning on or bending the elbow. If the bursa is infected the overlying skin usually becomes red and warm.

Xrays are necessary to look for a foreign body or bone spur. Bone spurs on the tip of the elbow are often found in patients who have recurrent episodes of bursitis.

Treatment includes ice, rest, activity modification (avoid activities that involve leaning on the elbow), analgesic and anti-inflammatory medications. Occasionally aspirating the fluid from the bursa and injecting corticosteroid medication is recommended. If infection is suspected antibiotics will be commenced. This may involve intravenous antibiotics through a drip.

Surgery is typically reserved for recurrent episodes of elbow bursitis or when infected bursitis does not improve with antibiotics. It involves excising the bursa. The bursa usually grows back as a non-inflamed, normally functioning bursa over a period of several months.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. The information provided here is for general educational purposes only. For more information on elbow (olecranon) bursitis or to learn more about elbow (olecranon) bursitis surgery, please contact the office of Dr Marcus Chia, Sydney, Australia, Orthopaedic Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon.

For appointments and enquiries, please phone (02) 8014 4252

Peninsula Orthopaedics
Suite 20, Level 7
Northern Beaches Hospital
105 Frenchs Forest Road
Frenchs Forest NSW 2086

Mona Vale Rooms
Suite 502, 20 Bungan Street
Mona Vale NSW 2103

Cremorne Rooms
Suite 1, 402 Military Road
Cremorne NSW 2090

Northside Orthopaedics
Suite 403, Level 4
San Clinic
Sydney Adventist Hospital
185 Fox Valley Road
Wahroonga NSW 2076

Orthopaedic Associates
Level 1, Suite 1
Lakeview Private Hospital
17-19 Solent Circuit
Norwest NSW 2153

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