Elbow contusion

Elbow bursitis: Commonly used treatment options

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Elbow bursitis involves inflammation of the bursa sac amidst the elbow and skin. The bursa is a slippery sac that prevents extensive bone rubbing during activity.

Bursitis develops around the joint during sports or activities that involves repetitive movement such as tennis. The condition results to stiffness, pain, swelling, tenderness and reddening around the elbow tip. If the individual suffers from joint pain more than 2 weeks or there is fever and extensive pain or swelling, a doctor should be consulted.

What are the common treatment options for elbow bursitis?

If elbow bursitis is not due to an infection, the joint must be raised and apply an ice pack.

Application of ice

If elbow bursitis is not due to an infection, the joint must be raised and apply an ice pack. The pack should be applied on the tip of the joint. Make sure that the ice pack is held on the joint for 20 minutes and taken off for 20 minutes.

This cycle must be repeated as often as possible during the initial 2 days. The individual is also advised to place an ice pack on the joint in case of future flare-ups.


Oral medications can also be given to manage elbow bursitis. The doctor might suggest non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) which work by reducing the swelling in the bursa to relieve the elbow pain.

These medications must be taken as directed to prevent any complications. The doctor should be informed that these medications are taken. Additionally, ask if they can be taken if other medications are prescribed.

Cortisone injections

In severe cases, the doctor might suggest the extraction of fluid and injection of corticosteroid into the bursa. The steroid works by reducing the swelling better than the oral variants since it is administered directly into the bursa.


If the bursa is infected and does not seem to improve with medications, the doctor might suggest surgical removal of the bursa. In addition, a non-infected bursa might be removed if it does not respond to conservative measures.

Remember that the risks of surgery are minimal since the doctor will not disrupt any ligaments, muscles or bones. Nevertheless, there is always the risk for infection, structural damage or significant bleeding from surgery.

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