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Bursitis is pain and swelling of the bursae. These are sacs of fluid that help your joints move smoothly. Olecranon bursitis is a type of bursitis that affects the back of the elbow. This is sometimes called Popeye elbow because the bump that develops looks like the cartoon character Popeye's elbow.
Injury, overuse, or prolonged pressure on your elbow can cause this form of bursitis. Sometimes it happens when people have arthritis. It also can occur for unknown reasons.
Treatment may include draining fluid from the bursa with a needle. If your doctor thought there was infection, he or she may have prescribed antibiotics. You also may get shots of medicine into the bursa to help the swelling go down. Your elbow should get better in a few days or weeks.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: November 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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