Olecranon Bursitis

Olecranon Bursitis
June 9, 2016

olecranonDeftness and perseverance are two skills that have helped in making Dr. Gupta one of the best specialists in the field of upper extremity, today. Being in this field for more than 25 years has given him insight into dealing with any and each complexity that is associated with traumatic injuries, disorders or congenital diseases.

Talking about Olecranon Bursitis Dr. Gupta emphasizes, “When the tip of the elbow swells and becomes extremely painful because of inflammation in the bursa of the elbow, it is referred to as Olecranon Bursitis. The function of the bursa is to enable smooth functioning of joints by producing a liquid that facilitates easy movement of skin over bones.”

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Dr. Gupta’s thirst for application of new modalities of treatment and effective deliverance of the same has helped him to relieve more than 6000 patients of their enervating trauma, by surgical techniques and innumerable patients from nonsurgical techniques.

“Though growing age and presence of rheumatoid arthritis or gout significantly make a person more susceptible to it, yet the most common cause is repeated and prolonged pressure on the tip of the elbow or any traumatic injury to the same. X-rays and physical check up help us conclusively to deduce the severity of bursitis and determines our methodology for treatment”, stresses Dr. Gupta.

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Having been an integral part of Fortis, AIIMS, Medanta-The Medicity and at present holding forte at Max Healthcare as head of Shoulder and Hand Division, Dr. Gupta is fervent about treating patients with painless techniques. “For Bursitis, the most effective technique is either removal of infected fluid in the bursa by a needle or removal of the entire bursa.”
Pondering over for two more moments, he winds up by saying, “Bursitis is not rare and bursa gradually grows back on its own to function normally.”

FAQ – Olecranon Bursitis

There is a pointed bone at the tip of the elbow which is termed as Olecranon. There is a sac which lies between the tip and the skin known as Bursa which is filled with fluid and accommodates easy movement of the skin over the bone. When this sac (bursa) fills with extra fluid and becomes inflamed it results in pain and swelling at the back of the elbow and is referred to as Olecranon Bursitis.
There are many factors that are contributory to this condition. These causes are- Any traumatic blow to the tip of the elbow may result in the bursa producing excess fluid and thus swelling. Though it takes several months to develop yet putting too much pressure on the tip of elbow for long hours may cause bursa to swell. An infection on the tip of the elbow might just reach inside and cause the bursa sac to be infected. Rheumatoid Arthritis and Gout are medical conditions that might become a reason for Olecranon Bursitis.
The most significant sign of Olecranon Bursitis is intense swelling at the back of the elbow which makes movement of the elbow quite difficult. Other common symptom is extreme pain which enhances with bending and moving of elbow repeatedly. Another sign that shows the presence of Bursitis is redness and warmth around the elbow or at the tip.
After looking out for significant or subtle signs and an inquiry into the medical history of the patient the orthopedics will refer to an X-ray for conclusive evidence. Sometimes some fluid from the bursa sac is also extracted to determine if the swelling has been caused by infection or gout.

Olecranon Bursitis can be treated by both nonsurgical and surgical techniques.

Nonsurgical Techniques: If the bursa has swelled because of an infection then the doctor conducts aspirating from the bursa i.e. removes the fluid with the help of a needle. Antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor to keep the infection from spreading and also reduce the pain.

In cases where the Bursitis has not been caused by infection the doctor may recommend an elbow pad to rest and cushion the elbow, enforce avoidance of activities that cause pressure on the elbow, anti inflammatory medicines or corticosteroid injections to reduce swelling and pain.

Surgical Techniques: In cases where the bursa is infected but nonsurgical techniques have failed to relieve the patient from the enervating condition, the surgeon may remove the entire bursa. When bursitis is not caused because of infection then also the surgeon removes the entire bursa.

After surgical removal, the surgeon prescribes oral anti inflammatory medicines to relieve the patient of the pain. The bursa grows back gradually after some time.

After surgery the surgeon puts the arm in a splint and recommends gentle therapy exercises to enable movement and after a few weeks the patient can use the elbow normally though it is kept under protection or padded for several months to prevent injury to the elbow again.
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