Bursitis is an
inflammation of small sacs of fluid (bursae) that help joints move smoothly.
Olecranon bursitis, which affects the olecranon bursa at the back of the elbow,
is sometimes called Popeye elbow. This is because the bump that develops at the
back of the elbow looks like the cartoon character Popeye's elbow.
What causes olecranon bursitis?
There are three
general causes of olecranon bursitis:
Piriformis syndrome is an uncommon neuromuscular disorder that is caused when the piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve. The piriformis muscle is a flat, band-like muscle located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint. This muscle is important in lower body movement because it stabilizes the hip joint and lifts and rotates the thigh away from the body. This enables us to walk, shift our weight from one foot to another, and maintain balance. It is also used in sports that involve lifting...
Your doctor can likely diagnose olecranon bursitis from a medical history and
physical exam. If the swelling is the result of an injury, X-rays may be
necessary to determine whether the elbow is fractured.
doctor is concerned about an infection in your elbow, he or she
may drain fluid from the elbow with a needle and have the fluid tested by a
How is olecranon bursitis treated?
sudden (acute) bursitis may include drainage of excess fluid in the sac with a
needle, followed by injections of medicines into the sac to decrease
inflammation and promote healing.
Treatment for ongoing (chronic)
bursitis focuses on teaching you to avoid leaning on your elbows,
protecting your elbows during sports activities with elbow pads, and using
anti-inflammatory medicines. Antibiotic medicines may be needed to treat
infection, and surgery may be needed to drain or remove (excise) the
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
February 16, 2011
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