Conditions & Treatments

Olecranon Bursitis

What is

Olecranon Bursitis?

The olecranon is the pointy bone at the tip of the elbow. A “bursa” — a small sac of fluid — covers the tip of this bone, allowing soft tissues such as the skin to slide over the bone. Normally, this sac has only a tiny amount of fluid inside of it and is essentially flat. However, sometimes this area gets irritated and the body makes extra fluid inside the sac. This can cause a big “balloon” to form at the tip of the elbow.

What Causes the


There are many different causes of olecranon bursitis. Leaning on the elbow a lot or even hitting it on an object once can result in swelling. People who rest their elbows on hard objects while studying, talking on the phone, working out, or driving often have this problem.

Some systemic diseases (like gout and rheumatoid arthritis) and procedures (dialysis for kidney failure) can be associated with olecranon bursitis as well. Sometimes a calcium deposit may form in the olecranon bursa. In some cases, the cause is unknown.

About Gout

Signs &


Olecranon bursitis usually looks somewhat like a golf ball on the tip of the elbow. It can develop quickly or over time. Most of the time, the bursitis does not cause pain. If there is pain, tenderness, redness, or warmth in the area, or if you have a fever, there might be an infection. Up to 20% of the time, olecranon bursitis is “septic,” or infected with bacteria.

Surgery &

Other Treatments

Dr. Arora likely will ask questions to try to determine if you have a systemic disease that might need to be treated in order to treat the olecranon bursitis. Most people do not. If you do not have pain, one remedy may be to use a resting splint and compression to rest the bursa and help speed recovery.

Sometimes elbow pads can help, especially if you find that you are one of those people who tends to lean on the tip of the elbow a lot.

A needle may be used to draw fluid out of the bursa (aspiration), especially if the doctor suspects that there might be an infection. If there is an infection, antibiotics and fluid removal might cure the infection. Sometimes the infection is hard to cure with antibiotics and surgery is needed.

If the bursa is not infected and the bursitis continues to be a problem, treatment options may include repeated aspiration, cortisone injection, and surgery.

If you are experiencing symptoms of olecranon bursitis, make an appointment to see Dr. Arora in Macomb, Warren, West Bloomfield, or Howell.

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Dr. Aroras office from my first call to schedule my appointment was friendly. Walking in the first day, I felt like I was in a nice atmosphere. Dr. Arora was EXCELLENT in taking great care of my hand injury. He was gentle and very understanding to the concerns I had about my hand. His expertise was admirable and I would recommend anyone with an injury to their hand to his office to be under his care. Because of him, I have healed faster than expected and will make an 100% recovery! Thank you Dr.

Jackie S.

I first thought I was going to have to have painful injections or surgery, but Dr. Arora suggested physical therapy may do the trick. I was doubtful, but I agreed to do it. Now, my pain is gone, and with the help of an ergonomic keyboard at work to keep my hands in the correct position, I am virtually pain free. The therapy strengthened my wrists and shoulders, and built more flexibility into my wrists.

Jerry T.

My experience with this doctor was positive from the outset. Dr. Arora was kind and spent a great deal of time with me. Staff was friendly. The office was nice and bright.

Ariel G.

Very friendly and helpful Great staff!!! Doctor Arora was very professional and did great work. I was very happy with everything!

L B.