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olecranon bursitis


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Inflammation of the olecranon bursa. It is caused by a single blow or repeated blows to the elbow (for example, in kareteka who break objects with the elbow). It is characterized in the acute phase by an egg-shaped-swelling, pain, and tenderness. A redness around the bursa may indicate an infection. This requires medical evaluation that often includes microscopical analysis of bursal fluid withdrawn by aspiration. An infection is treated with antibiotics. Immediate treatment of olecranon bursitis includes rest, ice, compression, and elevation (see RICE), and anti-inflammatories. An athlete experiencing persistent pain and loss of mobility of the elbow should consult a doctor. An uninfected olecranon bursitis in which the swelling persists after the acute stage can be treated effectively with a localized steroid injection. Chronic or recurrent bursitis may warrant surgical excision of the bursa.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.


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