An olecranon bursitis tends to present initially with swelling at the back of the elbow. If the bursa is particularly inflamed or becomes infected, then pain and redness can develop.
It tends to be associated with periods of over-use, or regular pressure on the area such as leaning on this area of the elbow. There are many bursa in the body. These small fluid-filled sacs are positioned in areas where the bone and soft tissues could rub.
You don’t notice the bursa because it usually lies flat, conforming to the shape of your bone. But when it gets irritated, the bursa can get swollen and large.
They act to reduce friction between the structures.
The olecranon bursa is situated at the back of your elbow, allowing smooth movement between the skin and the bone.
Typically, an olecranon bursitis builds up over time with repeated stress on the back
of the elbow. Those who repeatedly lean on their elbow, such as students, plumbers and
miners, are prone to developing it.
It may also develop due to sudden trauma to the back of the elbow if perhaps you fell
on it, or it was hit.
Treating your bursitis needs to begin with reducing those activities that provoke your pain.
Be cautious to not lean on your elbow when studying. Lie in a different position if you have to work in awkward areas, and use pillows or protective pads if it is unavoidable to lean on your elbow. Wrap some ice in a damp towel, and positioning it over the outside of your elbow for 10-15 minutes. This will help to settle the inflammation. Monitor your skin to ensure the ice does not burn.
You may be given exercises to stretch the tissues contributing to your irritation if this is deemed relevant to your issues. Strengthening exercises may also be added if weakness is contributing to your pain. Work with your physiotherapists to establish goals for your rehabilitation.
This will ensure your recovery will carry you through to get you back doing what you love most.
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