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Elbow Bursitis

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Bursitis is a condition in which liquid and inflammation (swelling) build up in the bursa (a sac that cushions a joint). Bursitis can be caused by overuse or excessive pressure on the joint, or due to injury, infection, or an underlying condition, such as arthritis.

Signs and symptoms of elbow bursitis include:

  • Pain in the elbow
  • Swelling
  • Visible bump in the elbow joint


Physical examination
Your doctor will conduct a complete physical examination and collect your health history to help make the diagnosis.

Your doctor may order an ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess your bursitis.

Lab tests
Your doctor may order a blood test or analysis of fluid from the inflamed elbow bursa to help determine the cause of your joint inflammation and pain.


Anti-inflammatory medicine
Your doctor may recommend you take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication – such as ibuprofen – to help relieve pain and swelling. Corticosteroid injections are also sometimes used to help relieve bursitis symptoms.

RICE method
You should use the RICE method, which includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation, while you’re at home.

Your doctor may recommend aspiration, which involves piercing the swollen bursa with a needle to drain the pressure and immediately relieve the pain.

Physical therapy
In most cases, your health care provider will prescribe rehabilitation therapy. Our physical therapists establish a unique plan of care that includes specific interventions for your condition and situation to help alleviate pain and improve mobility.

If other treatments have been unsuccessful in treating your elbow bursitis, surgery may be needed.

Why Choose the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute?

World-class care in an academic health system. As a research and teaching institution, we treat children and adults with proven, leading-edge procedures based on clinical studies performed at the Miller School of Medicine. Our doctors, residents, nurses, and therapists work together to create healthy outcomes.

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