Bursitis in the Elbow

Olecranon bursitis (also known as student's elbow) is characterised by pain and inflammation at the back of the elbow.

Typical symptoms: Pain on the back of the elbow. The skin may become inflamed and swollen and will feel warm to the touch.

The olecranon is the bony sharp bit at the back your elbow. It is the pointed sharp prominent bone or the bit that you lean on typically.

Bursae are structures that occur throughout the body and they are basically little sacks of fluid that typically occur between bony surfaces and overlying soft tissue (such as a tendon). There are roughly 160 in the body in total. They essentially act as little cushions that help to prevent the effect of friction. However, ironically in the process of this duty they themselves can sometimes become irritated and inflamed.


olecranon bursitis treatment


You may find the swelling improves using RICE treatment: with (R)est, (I)ce packs, (C)ompression (wearing a bandage) and (E)levation, as well as:

  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Ultrasound and electrical treatment
  • A steroid injection into the bursa may cure the problem
  • Draining the fluid (aspiration) can be done with a needle and syringe if a lot of fluid builds up.