Elbow Bursitis; Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Advanced Treatment

Elbow Buritis

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Elbow (olecranon) bursitis

Elbow bursitis is a relatively common and painful condition caused by inflammation of the olecranon bursa located on the posterior side (back) of the olecranon bone of your elbow. It is characterised by warmth and swelling on your elbow, which causes pain and decreased range of motion at the elbow joint. It is most commonly caused by trauma and overuse of the elbow joint. If the underlying cause is infection, you can also have a fever. 

ANF Therapy®️ is an innovative treatment approach designed to effectively alleviate pain and reduce chronic inflammation associated with elbow bursitis.

What is elbow bursitis?

The Olecranon bursa is a thin sac of bursa lined by synovial membrane overlying your olecranon bone of the elbow. The function of the bursa is to protect the soft tissue injury, providing gliding motion at the elbow and avoiding friction between the joints and tendons. The superficial location of the bursa at your elbow joint and its limited vascular supply make it susceptible to inflammation. The inflammation of the olecranon bursa is called olecranon bursitis. This inflammation can be due to continuous stress, trauma or infection. 

Typically, The ANF Therapist diagnose elbow bursitis with clinical evaluation rather than other diagnostic tests and radiological interventions. 

How many people are affected By elbow bursitis?

Elbow (olecranon) bursitis is a common condition that most commonly affects men aged 30-60 years. It affects both children and adults. It is most commonly associated with your routine activities and sports. According to a recent survey, about 2/3 of the cases are non-septic and caused by sports injuries. 

What causes elbow bursitis?

Olecranon bursa lies subcutaneously and is covered by a thin layer of the membrane, which is exposed to stress and trauma. It can easily get irritated and inflamed. Several causative factors are responsible for causing elbow bursitis. These factors include: 

1-Trauma to elbow joint:

If you fall on your elbow or have trauma to the elbow, the blood is collected in the bursa that irritates the lining of the bursa, resulting in inflammation. 

2-Continuous pressure on elbow joint:

Repetitive pressure on your elbow joint during your daily activity makes you more prone to having elbow bursitis. For example, if you rest on your elbow daily, it puts pressure, resulting in inflammation of the olecranon bursa. 

3-Previous of olecranon bursitis:

Once your bursa has been inflamed, recurrence is quite common. If you’ve had bursitis before, you’ll likely experience it again. 


If you have an open wound near your elbow—like a cut or puncture—it can make a way for bacteria to enter into your elbow joint. This makes you prone to infections and can cause bursitis on its own. It’s essential to keep your injuries clean and protected to prevent bacteria from turning a minor problem into much bigger and more painful conditions.

5-Medical disorders:

Some medical disorders increase your risk of elbow bursitis. These include the following:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis 
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gouty arthritis 
  • Pseudogout
  • Chronic diabetes 

Certain occupations can increase your risk of developing painful elbow bursitis due to repetitive motions or prolonged pressure on the elbow. Some of these high-risk jobs include: 

  • Plumber
  • Air Conditioning Technicians
  • Carpenters 
  • Scrubbing 
  • Sports activities like tennis, baseball, and golf 

People in these professions should be especially mindful of the strain they place on their elbows and consider preventive measures like using elbow pads or taking frequent breaks to reduce their risk.

What are the symptoms of elbow bursitis?

The symptoms of elbow bursitis vary from person to person, depending upon the underlying cause and severity of the disease. These symptoms include: 

  • Swelling at the elbow joint 
  • Decrease range of motion (flexion and extension) elbow joint 
  • Tenderness 
  • Discoloration of the affected area

What is the difference between elbow bursitis and tennis elbow (elbow bursitis vs tennis elbow)?

Elbow bursitis and tennis elbow are both conditions that affect the elbow but involve different structures and have distinct causes.

Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis):

This condition arises from inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. Tennis elbow is typically caused by repetitive motion of the wrist and arm. Common symptoms include pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow, which can worsen with forearm activity.

Elbow Bursitis:

This occurs when the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between bones and soft tissues, becomes inflamed. Elbow bursitis can result from a variety of causes, such as injury, prolonged pressure on the elbow, or infection. Symptoms usually include swelling, tenderness, and pain in the elbow area.

While both conditions can cause pain in the elbow, the nature of the pain, the exact location, and the activities that aggravate it differ. Tennis elbow results primarily from tendon strain, leading to pain during movement of the arm, whereas elbow bursitis tends to present with more noticeable swelling and pain that can be constant, regardless of arm movement.

How do ANF Therapists diagnose elbow bursitis?

Elbow bursitis diagnosis by ANF Therapists involves a thorough clinical assessment that focuses on your medical history and physical and neurological examination. Here’s how ANF Therapists typically approach the diagnosis:

Comprehensive Medical History:

Medical history includes the following: 

1-Personal Data 

Collection of biodata to understand the patient’s background

2-Trauma History:

Examination of any past injuries that might contribute to the condition.

3-Previous Medical Illness:

Discussion of prior health issues which could influence the elbow’s condition.

4-Occupational History:

Consideration of job-related activities that might exacerbate the bursitis.

5-Drug History:

Analysis of any medications taken that could influence symptoms.

Physical Examination:

Physical examination includes: 

1-Location of swelling: 

ANF Therapists first identify where the swelling is most prominent around the elbow and locate it.

2-Warmth and Tenderness:

Afterwards, they check for signs of inflammation and sensitivity.

3-Size of Swelling:

Then, they measure the swelling to assess the severity of the bursitis.

4-Elbow Joint Mobility:

Finally, they evaluate the range of motion to determine the impact of elbow bursitis on joint functionality.

5-Neurological Examination:

After a general physical examination, ANF Therapists perform a detailed neurological examination where they distinguish between healthy and inflamed nerves and find the root cause of the problem. They assess the areas where ANF Devices need to be placed. 

This combination of historical data and thorough physical and neurological assessment allows ANF Therapists to diagnose elbow bursitis effectively.

How does ANF Therapy®️ help in managing elbow bursitis?

The ANF Therapy®️ is an innovative approach to managing orthopaedic diseases that works on the principles of frequency medicine. It does not only give you symptomatic relief but also treats the underlying cause from its root. It works by applying ANF Devices to certain parts of your body. 

Application of ANF Devices:

According to Dr Mikel H-G Hoff, ANF Devices have helped thousands of people with elbow bursitis and are living their pain-free lives without complications. Three types of devices are applied to the affected part of the body. These are :

  1. Anti-inflammatory Devices 
  2. Antioxidant Devices 
  3. Neurological Devices 

These devices help remove inflammatory substances and harmful free radicals from your body and recover damaged neurological frequencies. ANF Devices activate the natural healing process of the body to heal tissue injury in elbow bursitis.

If you are a patient suffering from elbow bursitis, visit your nearby ANF Therapist or find an ANF Therapist near you at www.findanf.com to start your treatment with ANF Therapy®️ , which provides faster and long-lasting treatment results.

If you are a healthcare professional aiming to upskill your clinical knowledge to treat your patients effectively, visit www.anfacademy.com to learn more about the ANF Clinical education program and courses.  

How to prevent elbow bursitis?

Here are some preventive measures that you can adopt to decrease your risk of elbow bursitis. These include:

  • Avoid overuse of your elbow joint 
  • Clean the wound at your elbow joint to avoid infection
  • Take breaks from the daily routine activities if your routine activities involve your knee joint 
  • Use elbow bad or support to prevent stress  


Is bursitis hard or soft to the touch? 

Bursitis is the inflammation of the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that lies subcutaneously at your elbow joint. It is soft, tender and warm to the touch.

What is the difference between elbow bursitis and cellulitis (Elbow bursitis vs cellulitis)?

Cellulitis is a skin condition caused by a bacterial infection that can affect any part of your body, often following an injury that breaks the skin. In contrast, bursitis, which causes inflammation of the bursa of your elbow joint, isn’t always triggered by an infection. It can also occur due to trauma, repetitive stress, or underlying medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.

What is the difference between elbow bursitis and elbow gout (Elbow bursitis vs elbow gout)? 

Gout is an inflammatory condition that most commonly affects your joints, especially the big toe. It is caused by the accumulation of uric acid crystals in joints that induce inflammation and cause pain. Comparatively, elbow bursitis is caused by inflammation of the olecranon bursa at your elbow joint.

Is ANF Therapy®️ effective for Elbow Bursitis?

Yes, ANF Therapy®️ is an effective treatment modality to manage elbow bursitis effectively. It uses ANF Devices to treat the root cause of elbow bursitis. These devices are charged with certain frequencies to strengthen the neurological frequencies of the body and activate the body’s natural healing response.

About ANF Therapy®️

ANF Therapy®️ uses circular ANF Devices, which are applied directly on the skin after palpation and assessment by a trained ANF Therapist following the ANF Therapy®️ Method, Patented Model no. U202030252, ES1259974.

The ANF Therapy®️ purpose is the alleviation of injury and pain within minutes.

Our aim is that the patient experiences a reduction of pain and swelling, an increase in range of motion, and an improvement in quality of life related to health. Non-transdermal, non-invasive device, NO needles or chemicals are used.

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