Olecranon Bursitis Treatment, Management, And Recovery

Olecranon Bursitis is a condition is when the pointy bone at the elbow tip is swelled with fluid. Learn olecranon bursitis treatment while at home in this article.

Olecranon Bursitis

Olecranon also referred to as elbow bursitis, is commonly associated with the bumped bone that is painful. However, if it is indeed elbowing bursitis or olecranon, then it can present itself as a lump on the elbow that can be quite painful. 

The occurrence of this condition is linked to the anatomy of the elbow itself. The pointed bone at the elbow’s tip is known as the olecranon. Between the skin and this point in the elbow, there is a fluid-filled thin sac known as the bursa. These bursas can be found near the joint and can help provide the bones with some cushion along with the tendons and the muscles. The bursa of the elbow can also help the skin slide smoothly over the bone of the olecranon.

Once the bursa suffers inflammation, it can get filled up with excess fluids and can cause pain, a condition referred to as bursitis. The said medical condition can occur in the joints near the heel, knee, hip, and shoulder.

Elbow Bursitis: Possible Symptoms, Treatments, and Recovery Time

Some of the symptoms of elbow bursitis or olecranon bursitis include a red and swollen appearance for the affected area, the painful sensation when pressure is applied or during exertion, achy feeling, and stiffness. The bursa can get swollen abruptly or gradually occur as time passes. Bursitis treatment will commonly take the form of protecting the elbow from further trauma and resting the affected joint. Bursitis of the elbow will often resolve after being treated for a few weeks, but it is common for bursitis to have flare-ups.

Below are some of the possible tips to make the healing of bursitis faster while at home:

1. Rest

One of the best things to do to make bursitis healing and recovery much faster is by resting the affected joint. Bursitis often occurs when repetitive motions are done using a specific joint. This kind of condition is commonly encountered by individuals who are into golf, tennis, or other similar sports. Olecranon Bursitis can also occur due to leaning on the elbows for extended periods or after falling on the elbow or after some injury or trauma to the elbow. If the habitual action or behavior that is repetitive is causing the inflammation, one of the main things for treatment and recovery is the avoidance of this certain movement or action. Individuals should avoid further bursa irritation to try and make the condition resolve on their own.

2. Ice

Putting some ice on the affected joint during the first two days from when the symptoms began can aid in the reduction of swelling and inflammation. The ice applied can help in reducing the flow of blood to the joint which can then lead to reduced inflammation. Cold therapy can also help relieve temporarily any sensation of pain by reducing the activity of the nerves. It must be noted though that ice should never be applied directly to the elbow as this can lead to skin injury. Instead, the ice should be wrapped in a towel and applied in short periods (around 15 to 20 minutes) to help in the prevention of damaged nerves.

3. Heat

If you are suffering from elbow bursitis, you may try taking a warm bath or applying heat to the affected area. Heat can aid in the improvement of circulation and reduce the sensation of being stiff. Heat can also help in alleviating an individual’s discomfort caused by elbow bursitis.

Treatment using cold and hot therapy may be the ideal combo for bursitis as well as other conditions that cause swelling and inflammation. However, if the application of cold or heat causes more swelling and pain, the home treatment should be stopped immediately. 

4. Changes in Activity

It is ideal that activities that apply stress or pressure on the elbow be avoided which includes certain sports such as heavy lifting, exercise sports, and contact sports. If an action is repetitive can lead to flare-ups, then it best that these actions be avoided. If it must be engaged in, then it is best to make the action alternate with other activities for breaks that are regular in between the activities. Individuals should also discuss with their healthcare professional about what other alternate activities can be done instead.

5. Pain relievers that are available over the counter (OTC)

Taking pain relievers that are OTC or over the counter can help in the reduction of inflammation and pain. NSAIDs or Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs are medications that are anti-inflammatory and are widely available even without having a prescription. These include pain relievers, such as naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. Other topical formulations can also be applied to the skin and can help with the pain. Some of these creams have capsaicin.

6. Elbow Pads

Elbow pads may be used to help provide the elbow with some form of cushion or support while one sleeps, works, or sits. The padding will not only avoid the elbow getting hit but will also have the elbow securely wrapped around. This can then lead to trapped heat and compression for the elbow. Compression has been shown to aid in the reduction of swelling and the warmth can also have the stiffness decreased or reduced.

6. Antibiotics

If the infection is causing the inflammation, then the individuals may require the intake of antibiotics. Medical professionals will usually begin using an antibiotic that can be potent against S. Aureus. In a study conducted in 2001, the aforementioned bacteria have been observed to be responsible for around eighty percent (80%) of cases of bursae that are infected. It must be noted though, that antibiotic is taken as recommended and in their full course even after improvements to the symptoms are observed.

People with Olecranon Bursitis can do all of these home treatments for their health condition. However, it is still best to consult with a doctor or medical professional to get the appropriate treatment one needs.

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