Olecranon Bursitis

ExitCare ImageBursitis is swelling and soreness (inflammation) of a fluid-filled sac (bursa) that covers and protects a joint. Olecranon bursitis occurs over the elbow.


Bursitis can be caused by injury, overuse of the joint, arthritis, or infection.


  • Tenderness, swelling, warmth, or redness over the elbow.

  • Elbow pain with movement. This is greater with bending the elbow.

  • Squeaking sound when the bursa is rubbed or moved.

  • Increasing size of the bursa without pain or discomfort.

  • Fever with increasing pain and swelling if the bursa becomes infected.


  • Put ice on the affected area.

  • Put ice in a plastic bag.

  • Place a towel between your skin and the bag.

  • Leave the ice on for 15-20 minutes each hour while awake. Do this for the first 2 days.

  • When resting, elevate your elbow above the level of your heart. This helps reduce swelling.

  • Continue to put the joint through a full range of motion 4 times per day. Rest the injured joint at other times. When the pain lessens, begin normal slow movements and usual activities.

  • Only take over-the-counter or prescription medicines for pain, discomfort, or fever as directed by your caregiver.

  • Reduce your intake of milk and related dairy products (cheese, yogurt). They may make your condition worse.


  • Your pain increases even during treatment.

  • You have a fever.

  • You have heat and inflammation over the bursa and elbow.

  • You have a red line that goes up your arm.

  • You have pain with movement of your elbow.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.