Olecranon Bursitis: Meaning, Diagnosis and Overview

What is Olecranon Bursitis?

Olecranon bursitis, also called Elbow bursitis. It is the inflammation of a small sac of fluid located on the tip of the elbow. 
Bursae are thin, slippery sacs located throughout the body that act as cushions between bones and soft tissues. They contain a small amount of lubricating fluid that allows the skin to move freely over the underlying bone. The olecranon bursa is located between the tip, or point, of the elbow (called the olecranon) and the overlying skin. This bursa allows the elbow to bend and straighten freely underneath the skin.

Recovery Time

Most cases can be treated at home with self-care techniques and over-the-counter painkillers. The pain usually improves within a few weeks, but the swelling may take longer to completely disappear.


The diagnosis of olecranon bursitis is done by physical examination. In some cases X-rays may be necessary to make sure that the elbow isn’t fractured. Scans and blood tests are sometimes done to rule out other causes of elbow swelling, such as infection.

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