A Swollen Elbow: Olecranon Bursitis

Olecranon Bursitis: A Swollen Elbow

What a klutz!

And being a klutz has resulted in my first ever experience with olecranon bursitis.

Summer in Shaker Heights means the local ice rink is unavailable to me as figure skating camps take over the space.

So when I had my first opportunity to skate I jumped at it. Hit the rink, laced up, and got the ice without taking my skate guards off.

Here’s the thing about getting on the ice with your skate guards still on… there is nowhere to go but down.

And down I went hitting my elbow square on the ice, which by the way is quite hard.

To be honest I didn’t notice a problem until I tried to take my shirt off later and my elbow got in the way.

olecranon bursitis


My elbow was swollen and seriously hot to the touch with a quarter-size red splotch that looked none too happy.

A bursa is a small fluid sac that allows bones to move around each other without creating too much friction.

When these fluid sacs become swollen it results in bursitis, and in my case, olecranon bursitis, an inflammation of the bursa at the tip of the elbow.

It didn’t hurt much but I will admit that it freaked me out. It was large and limiting my range of motion.

My wife suggested a trip to the urgent care but that is always my choice of last resort so I googled stuff instead.

To be honest there isn’t much. Your classic and I think outdated, Rice Method (rest, ice, compression, elevation). And watch out for infection.

In the end, I opted for the third choice in the RICE protocol, whipped out one of my handy compression sleeves, and went about my life.

olecranon bursitis

Three days later the swelling is down by about 70% and I am wearing the sleeve about half of the time.

To be totally honest I can’t speak to the efficacy of compression sleeves but I have used them with great results for assorted swellings. I have them for my knees, ankles, and elbows.

That’s my story of olecranon bursitis.