WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Elbow bursitis is inflammation of the bursa in your elbow. The bursa is a fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between a bone and a tendon. A tendon is a cord of strong tissue that connects muscles to bones. The bursa is located right under the point of your elbow.
- NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs are available without a doctor's order. Ask your primary healthcare provider which medicine is right for you. Ask how much to take and when to take it. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding and kidney problems if not taken correctly.
- Antibiotics: These help fight an infection caused by bacteria. You may need antibiotics if your bursitis is caused by infection.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Manage your symptoms:
- Rest: Rest your elbow as much as possible to decrease pain and swelling. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.
- Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your elbow for 15 to 20 minutes, 3 to 4 times each day, as directed.
- Compress: Caregivers may wrap your arm with tape or an elastic bandage to decrease swelling. Loosen the elastic bandage if you start to lose feeling in your fingers.
- Elevate: Raise your elbow above the level of your heart as often as you can. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your elbow on pillows or blankets to keep it elevated comfortably.
You may need to see a physical therapist to teach you special exercises. These exercises help improve movement and decrease pain. Physical therapy can also help improve strength and decrease your risk for loss of function.
Prevent another elbow injury:
- Avoid injury and pressure to your elbows: Wear elbow pads or protectors when you play sports. Do not lean on your elbows or clench your fists. Do not tightly grip small items, such as tools or pens.
- Stretch, warm up, and cool down: Always stretch and do warmup and cool-down exercises before and after you exercise. This will help loosen your muscles and decrease stress on your elbow. Rest between workouts.
Follow up with your primary healthcare provider as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Contact your primary healthcare provider if:
- Your pain and swelling increase.
- Your symptoms do not improve after 10 days of treatment.
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.