Olecranon Bursitis

Bursae play a role in lubricating the plane inbetween two normal human moving surfaces. At the elbow, the “olecranon bursa” lubricates the olecranon process of the ulna as it moves beneath a very mobile portion of the dorsal elbow skin.

This bursa under normal condition is thin like a sheet of gladwrap or paper. However, under abnormal conditions (trauma, haemorrhage, infection, crystals, fibrin inflammation _ just to name a few) it can become very distended. The walls of the bursa can become thickened. The centre can become distended with various fluids – including serum, synovial fluid, pus or blood). Solid clumps of fibrin may also form making it difficult to eradicate.

Any needle drainage procedure does not address the underlying, membrane that houses the fluid, and so it is likely to recur.

Surgical excision is sometimes needed. Dr Kirkham has over 25 tears of experience in this procedure. He recommends a quiet rest of the elbow for 3 weeks after surgery to allow for adequate skin healing in this surprisingly tricky location.