Elbow Bursitis - Students Elbow

Elbow Bursitis

Elbow bursitis also known as Students elbow or Olecranon bursitis is the inflammation and swelling of the bursa which protects the end of the ulna bone at the back of the elbow.

Elbow bursitis symptoms

Traumatic or repetitive impacts to this area can result in pain and a large swelling at the back of the joint as the bursa swells up. Symptoms include pain in the elbow both at rest and during exercise. There will be a painful swelling on the back of the elbow which most likely limits mobility.

Elbow bursitis explained

A bursa is a sack of fluid which helps to prevent friction between bones and the soft tissue over the top. Inflammation or bleeding into a bursa can cause it to become inflamed and painful. Elbow bursitis may occur from one sudden impact such as being hit by a ball, or from repetitive friction.

The condition is often called student's elbow as repeatedly leaning on the elbows whilst studying can result in this injury.

Elbow bursitis can be prevented by wearing elbow pads or elbow guards for sports where impact to the elbow is possible such as Cricket, Baseball or Football. A padded elbow support should be worn for activities where pressure will be put on the elbow for long periods. Avoid leaning on elbows at a desk or table.

Elbow bursitis treatment

Rest and apply ice or cold therapy. The is help reduce pain and inflammation. Cold should be applied for 10 minutes every hour until the pain and swelling has gone down.

A doctor may recommend anti inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen. Aspirating the bursa is an option in some cases. A needle is inserted into the bursa and the fluid sucked out. In severe cases a doctor may immobilize the arm or give a steroid injection. If conservative treatment fails then a surgeon may operate for elbow bursitis.

Related Articles
Osteochondritis Dissecans

Osteochondritis Dissecans is a fragmentation of the cartilage and sometimes the underlying bone within a joint. This is common in adolescents as the ends of the bones are not yet fully hardened.

Medial Elbow Ligament Sprain

The medial collateral (MCL) ligament of the elbow is situated on the inner elbow and helps to provide stability to the joint. Damage to this ligament can occur through an impact injury or an...

Elbow Hyperextension

An elbow hyperextension injury occurs when the elbow is bent back the wrong way. This over-straightening causes damage to the ligaments and structures of the elbow.

Medial Elbow Pain

A neck strain is a muscle injury of the neck.  A neck strain is quite a common injury and generally is a mild to moderate injury which clears by itself within a few days to a week.