Elbow Bursitis

Elbow Bursitis Overview

Elbow bursitis is inflammation of the elbow bursa—a fluid filled sac that cushions the elbow joint. An appointment with a Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates (CONA) elbow specialist should be made when elbow bursitis symptoms are experienced.

Symptoms & Causes

Elbow bursitis symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Warmness

Elbow bursitis causes are:

  • A direct fall on the elbow
  • A direct blow to the elbow
  • Infection
  • Medical conditions (rheumatoid arthritis, gout)
  • Prolonged pressure (i.e. prolonged leaning on the elbow)

Common Treatments:

Nonsurgical treatment options treat the overwhelming majority of elbow bursitis cases. After a thorough evaluation, a CONA elbow specialist may recommend:

  • Activity changes or modifications
  • Antibiotics
  • Elbows pads
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

If bursitis symptoms do not improve, a CONA specialist may be recommended removing fluid from the joint. In rare cases, an infected bursa may need to be surgically removed.


A CONA elbow specialist makes an accurate elbow bursitis diagnosis. First, a discussion about the patient’s condition and symptoms takes place. Next, a thorough physical examination is performed. If needed, x-rays are taken to rule out a fracture. Sometime, a small fluid sample may be collected and tested in a laboratory.

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