Radiohumeral Bursitis

Radiohumeral bursitis

Radiohumeral bursitis is inflammation of a bursa in the elbow and has similar symptoms to Tennis elbow. Here we explain the causes and treatment of Radiohumeral bursitis.



The main symptoms of Radiohumeral bursitis are:

  • Pain on the outside of the elbow.
  • The range of movement in your elbow may be limited.
  • Your joint will be swollen and redness may occur in some cases.
  • Pressing in (palpating) over the area of the bursa on the outside of your elbow will feel tender.
  • If the bursa is infected then you may also have a fever.


A bursa is a small sack of fluid which sits between the tendon and bone. Its purpose is to help lubricate the joint and aid movement.

Radiohumeral bursitis

The radiohumeral bursa is located on the outside of the elbow over the head of the radius bone.

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Radiohumeral bursitis may be caused by a direct blow to the elbow or forearm. Trauma causes the bursa to become painful, swollen and inflamed.

Other causes include:

  • Arthritis is general wear and tear in the joint which erodes the ends of bones.
  • Gout is a form of arthritis caused by a build-up of uric acid within the body, more common in men aged 40-60.
  • Acute infection.

However, frequently the cause is unknown.


Treatment for Radiohumeral bursitis is to rest the inflamed area as much as possible. If necessary, wear a sling until the pain becomes more bearable.

Apply ice or a cold compression wrap to reduce pain and inflammation, especially if your elbow is acutely painful.

Reflective running gear and vests

Cold Therapy Wraps (UK) (USA)

To prevent your elbow from becoming stiff or difficult to move (frozen elbow), begin normal, slow joint movement as soon as possible.

Painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed or Corticosteroid injections into the bursa to reduce inflammation.

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