Bursitis Elbow: All About This Problem

Bursitis Elbow: All About This Problem

Bursitis elbow is a problem that affects many people, in many different ways. In this blog post, we will explore everything you need to know about bursitis elbow, including symptoms, causes, and treatments. We will also discuss how to prevent bursitis elbow from happening in the first place. Ready to get started? Let’s go!

What is Bursitis Elbow?

What is Bursitis Elbow?

Bursitis elbow is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the bursa (a sac-like pouch) located just beneath the skin on the back of your elbow. This bursa is important because it helps reduce friction when we move our arms and joints. If this pouch becomes inflamed or infected, it can cause intense pain and swelling.

The most common cause of bursitis elbow is overuse — for example, lifting heavy objects or excessive swinging of the arm during exercise. Other factors that may contribute to the condition include obesity, age, and underlying conditions like arthritis. In most cases, bursitis elbow is treated with rest, ice, and ibuprofen (if appropriate). If the inflammation doesn’t improve after a few weeks, surgery may be necessary to remove the inflamed tissue.

Bursitis elbow is more common in people who are obese, have arthritis, or have a family history of the condition. Also, people who work in occupations that involve heavy lifting, such as construction or manufacturing, are at a greater risk of developing bursitis elbow.

Causes of Bursitis Elbow

Causes of Bursitis Elbow

There are many causes of bursitis elbow, but the most common are :

Overuse and inflammation of the bursa that lies between the skin and the underlying muscle (called the bursa glenohumeral)

One of the main reasons for bursitis elbow is overuse. The condition usually occurs in people who are constantly using their hands or arms for a long time, such as office workers, construction workers, or farmers. The friction and rubbing of the skin against the muscle can cause inflammation and the bursa to become enlarged. This overuse of the bursa can also lead to the development of tendonitis.

Inflammation of the tendons that attach the bursa to the bone (called the bursa rotundifolia)

Inflammation at the site of the bursa can also be caused by tendonitis. The inflammation results in swelling and pain, which can make it hard for the person to use their arm. This also can cause the bursa to become enlarged.

Inflammation of the joint itself

When the joint is inflamed, the bursa can become enlarged and tender. This is especially common in people who have arthritis. This also makes it a  lot harder for the person to move their arm. Also, the bursa can become infected, which can lead to even more pain and swelling.

Treatment for Bursitis Elbow

Bursitis elbow is an inflammation of the bursa, a small sac that lies between the skin and the muscle. This condition can develop from repetitive friction, such as when you use your hand for many different tasks. The bursa is often swollen and red and feels tender to the touch. Bursitis elbow can be treated with several treatments as prescribed by your doctor.

Some of these treatment methods are:



There are a few medications that can be used to treat this type of elbow, depending on the underlying cause. Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help to reduce pain and inflammation, while corticosteroids may be indicated in cases of supraspinatus bursitis.

There are a variety of medications you can take for bursitis elbow. Some examples include NSAIDs, corticosteroids, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs are the most common type of medication used to treat bursitis elbow. They can provide relief from pain and inflammation. Corticosteroids may also help treat bursitis elbow. These medications work by reducing the inflammation and pain associated with the disorder. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are a class of medications that includes ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve).


Surgery may be necessary for severe cases.

If medications don’t work within a few days or weeks, surgery may be necessary to remove scar tissue and relieve pressure on nearby nerves. This procedure is often called arthroscopy or microsurgery (depending on how much damage was done). Depending on how extensive the damage is, other surgeries may also be required.

One option is corticosteroid injection therapy. This involves injecting a corticosteroid into the bursa sac surrounding the elbow joint. The corticosteroid will reduce inflammation and swelling in the area, which will usually improve symptoms quickly.

Another option is physical therapy. This includes exercises that help improve flexibility and range of motion in the arm muscles and tendons. Physical therapy also may include massage treatments to reduce pain and inflammation.

Prevention of Bursitis Elbow

Prevention of Bursitis Elbow

To prevent bursitis elbow, you should take steps to avoid the injury and manage it when it occurs. Here are some tips:

1. Use a splint when you have bursitis elbow: This will help reduce the inflammation and pain in your elbow. Splints should be worn for at least two weeks and may need to be replaced if they do not help.

2. Reduce the use of your arm: If you have this issue, avoid using your arm excessively or abruptly. This will help keep the inflammation down and reduce the risk of future injury.

3. Ice your elbow regularly: Ice can help reduce the swelling and pain in your elbow, so make sure to apply it often. You can also use an ice pack or cold water on the area for 10-15 minutes at a time several times a day.

4. Take ibuprofen or another pain reliever as needed: These medications can relieve pain and inflammation around the elbow joint.

5. Elevate your injured arm if possible: Elevating your arm helps reduces swelling and decreases pressure on the injured area. You can use a pillow, a chair, or even a railing to help with elevation.

6. Try acupuncture: One such treatment that is helpful for bursitis elbow is acupuncture. Acupuncture can help to reduce the inflammation and pain in the elbow joint.


Bursitis elbow is a condition that affects the bursa, a sac of fluid and fibrous tissue located on the outside of the elbow. The bursa usually helps to protect the joint from friction and pressure, but in cases of Bursitis Elbow, it can become inflamed and swollen. This can lead to pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to treat the Bursitis Elbow and improve your overall health. Be sure to consult with your doctor if you experience any significant pain or swelling in your elbow, as this may be a sign that you require more serious treatment.

Physical Therapy help patients recover from pain. If you’re experiencing Back painShoulder painKnee painNeck painElbow painHip pain, or Arthritis pain, a physical therapist at MantraCare can help: Book a physiotherapy session.

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