Elbow (Olecranon) Bursitis Causes
There are a number of things that can indirectly cause bursitis such as repetitive use or overuse from work or sporting activities, a cut or injury to the elbow, acute injuries, and aging. Over the years your muscles will start to lose their mass and strength, your tissues will lose their elasticity and degenerate, making you more susceptible to injury. Weakened muscles and/or tendons or injuries to your elbow, wrist, forearm or shoulder can instigate bursitis. You are at increased risk of suffering from this condition if your work and/or lifestyle require repetitive use of your elbow.
Trauma (Acute or Chronic)
Trauma to the elbow and olecranon bursa causes inflammation of the elbow bursa, resulting in a widening of the blood vessels. This widening allows proteins and various fluids into the bursae that are not supposed to be there, resulting in swelling. Until these foreign materials leave the bursa or are broken down by the bursa's defense system, the swelling and pain will remain.
Acute trauma to the elbow means a direct blow to the elbow. In such cases, blood may leak into the bursa of the elbow and cause swelling and pain.
Chronic trauma will occur if there is mild trauma to the elbow that occurs repetitively. For instance, a hard elbow rest while driving frequently or straining the elbow frequently while throwing darts.
Infection (Septic Bursitis)
The closer the bursa is to the surface of the skin, the more likely the chance of infection from specific bacteria that are commonly found on the surface of the skin. This bacterial infection is known as septic bursitis and it is caused by the Staphylococcus Epidermis (or Staphylococcus Aureus) bacteria. Septic Bursitis occurs most commonly in men (85% of all cases occur in men) and you are at higher risk of contracting this if you
- have Diabetes
- have recently experienced trauma
- are undergoing steroid treatments
- have a certain kidney condition
Some people with diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout or scleroderma may contract bursitis from crystalline deposits in the joints. Although not much is known about how this process happens, it is common knowledge that Uric acid is a normal byproduct of daily metabolism. If your are diagnosed with gout then you are unable to break down this uric acid properly, leading to crystallization of this excess acid which deposits in joints, a painful symptom that can often lead to bursitis.
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During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort at the location of your soft tissue injury until the pain and inflammation settle. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!