Elbow Bursitis Specialist in New Jersey
Bursitis of the elbow occurs when the bursa, a small sac filled with a type of lubricating fluid, becomes inflamed. These bursa sacs can be found between bones, muscles, tendons, and skin throughout the body. It acts as a friction shield, allowing a smooth gliding action to occur when movement in the area occurs. The bursa in the elbow is known as the olecranon bursa, and is located between the loose skin and the pointy bone in the back of the elbow. When functioning properly the olecranon bursa remains flat, allowing the skin and muscles to move smoothly over its surface. When irritated or inflamed, fluid begins to accumulate in the olecranon bursa, limiting movement and causing pain in the elbow. Many refer to olecranon bursitis as “Popeye Elbow” due to the large protrusions at the point of the elbow that can occur due to the bursitis.
Olecranon bursitis most commonly occurs due to a trauma to the elbow. Many athletes who participate in sports that take place on hard courts, like volleyball or basketball, are susceptible to this injury as they dive for a ball or fall to the ground. A hard blow to the tip of the elbow can cause the bursa to begin to produce excess fluids and swelling. Another way olecranon bursitis can develop is by leaning on the tip of the elbow for long periods of time on a hard surface. This onset of bursitis will take time to begin to be noticeable, and is often common in professions where crawling on hands and knees is part of the job, such as plumbers or HVAC technicians. The olecranon bursa can also develop bursitis due to infection. A cut, scrape, or even insect bite that occurs on the bursa can develop into an infection that will produce fluid, redness, swelling and pain, and can develop into pus if left untreated.
Symptoms of olecranon bursitis are not always noticeable right away. The looseness of the skin in the area about the olecranon bursa will allow for swelling and fluid build up to go unnoticed at first, until the skin begins to be stretched as the fluid buildup continues. As the swelling continues, the bursa will stretch, causing pain. When the elbow is bent or leaned on, the pain may worsen. If infection sets in to the bursitis, the skin around the bursa may become red and warm. In the presence of infection, treatment is recommended immediately to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the arm or into the bloodstream.
Treatment for olecranon bursitis will vary based on the presence of infection or not. If an infection is present, NJOI doctors may recommend aspirating the bursa with a needle. This commonly performed procedure can be done right in our office, and is done to remove fluid from the bursa and relieve the pressure it may be causing. Antibiotics may be prescribed to fight off the infection from reoccurring in the bursa. If an infection is not causing the bursitis, treatment revolves more around lifestyle changes and providing ample protection of the bursa and elbow while participating in activities. In the event that swelling doesn’t dissipate over a few weeks, fluid may be aspirated and a corticosteroid injection may be administered to deliver more powerful anti-inflammatory medication to the bursa. In more severe cases, a surgical procedure to remove the affected bursa may be required. A healthy, normally functioning bursa will grow back in its place over a period of a few months.Symptoms of olecranon bursitis are not always noticeable right away. The looseness of the skin in the area about the olecranon bursa will allow for swelling and fluid build up to go unnoticed at first, until the skin begins to be stretched as the fluid buildup continues. As the swelling continues, the bursa will stretch, causing pain. When the elbow is bent or leaned on, the pain may worsen. If infection sets in to the bursitis, the skin around the bursa may become red and warm. In the presence of infection, treatment is recommended immediately to prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the arm or into the bloodstream.
If elbow bursitis has limited your physical abilities, or constantly has you in pain while working, come visit one of our talented doctors at NJOI who can help get you on the right treatment program to make bursitis of the elbow a thing of the past. Our practice has 6 locations conveniently located throughout North and Central New Jersey. NJOI’s offices are located in Clifton, Wayne, Butler, Morristown, and Bridgewater. Give us a call at 973-273-3431 to schedule an appointment at any of our 6 locations.
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Meet The Team
Vincent K. McInerney, M.D.
Founding member, Vincent K. McInerney, M.D., graduated from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School in 1977 with honors as one of the top medical students in his class.
Anthony Festa, M.D.
Dr. Anthony Festa is an orthopaedic surgeon in his seventh year of practice at the New Jersey Orthopaedic Institute.
Anthony J. Scillia, M.D.
Anthony J. Scillia M.D. is a board certified orthopaedic surgeon with subspecialty certification in sports medicine.
Robert M. Palacios, M.D.
SPORTS MEDICINE PHYSICIAN
Dr. Robert Palacios is board-certified and fellowship trained, and has been specializing in outpatient orthopedics and sports medicine for over two decades.
Craig Wright, M.D.
ORTHOPAEDIC TRAUMA SURGEON
Craig Wright, MD joins New Jersey Orthopaedic Institute by way of Totowa, NJ where he was born and raised.
"Doctors and staff very knowledgeable. Staff very friendly and helpful. Procedure I had went well and staff at surgical center very nice. My procedure went very smoothly. Follow up by staff impressive. Neat office; inviting. Would definitely recommend Dr. Festa to anyone in need of such services."
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