Olecranon bursitis is a condition in which painful swelling develops at the back of the elbow. Here are signs that you may have this condition:
- Swollen elbow (sometimes looking like a golf ball at the tip)
- Warmth around the elbow
- Draining pus
Most times, you feel no pain with olecranon bursitis. The swelling can either be gradual or happen at once. Sometimes, it can be painful if the bursa is infected.
This condition is a result of the bursa – which is a thin sac of fluid that lies between the tip of the olecranon bone of the elbow and the skin – becoming irritated, inflamed or filled with extra fluid (it normally has a small amount of fluid in it). Sometimes, the cause of this condition can be unknown. Other times, it can be caused by trauma, such as hitting the elbow on something or falling onto the elbow, or from leaning on your elbow too much. It can also be present in people with gout, rheumatoid arthritis, or kidney failure.
If you think you have this condition, visit a hand surgeon as soon as possible. Your surgeon will take some tests to check for infections or other issues with your bones. He/she will also recommend treatment options, which may include medications, an elbow wrap, an injection or surgery. Find a hand surgeon near you.