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Home :: Elbow Bursitis, Radio-Humeral

Elbow Bursitis, Radio-Humeral

Inflammation of the radio-humeral bursa in the elbow. Bursitis may vary in degree from mild irritation to an abscess formation that causes excruciating pain. In acute bursitis at the elbow, blood from an injury usually causes the inflammation. Bursitis will continue until the blood is removed or reabsorbed. Chronic bursitis results from under treated acute bursitis and usually requires surgery to repair.


  • Bursa between the radius and humerus (arm bones) where they meet in the elbow. This bursa is a soft sac filled with lubricating fluid that facilitates motion between the radius and humerus.
  • Soft tissue surrounding the elbow, including nerves, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels (both large vessels and capillaries), periosteum (the outside lining of bone) and muscles.


  • Direct blow to the elbow or forearm.
  • Acute or chronic Infection.
  • Arthritis.
  • Gout.
  • Unknown(frequently).

Signs & Symptoms

  • Pain at the elbow.
  • Tenderness.
  • Swelling.
  • Redness (sometimes) over the affected bursa.
  • Fever, if infection is present.
  • Limited elbow movement.


Follow your doctor's instructions. These instructions are supplemental.

  • Use frequent ice massage. Fill a large styrofoam cup with water and freeze. Tear a small amount of foam from the top so ice protrudes. Massage firmly over the injured area in a circle about the size of a softball. Do this 15 minutes at a time, 3 or 4 times a day,and before workouts or competition.
  • After 72 hours, apply heat instead of ice, if it feels better.Use heat lamps, hot soaks, hot showers,heating pads, or heat liniments and ointments.
  • Take whirlpool treatments, if available.
  • Use a sling to support the elbow joint, if needed .Don't exercise the elbow with the palm turned up or down.
  • Elevate the elbow above the level of the heart to reduce swelling and prevent accumulation of fluid.Use pillows for propping.
  • Massage gently and often to provide comfort and decrease swelling.

Home Diet

Eat a well-balanced diet that includes extra protein, such as meat, fish, poultry, cheese, milk and eggs. Increase fiber and fluid intake to prevent constipation that may result from decreased activity. Your doctor may suggest vitamin and mineral supplements to promote healing.

  • Use protective elbow pads for contact sports.
  • Wear warm clothing in cold weather.
  • To prevent recurrence, continue to wear extra protection over the elbow until healing is complete.
  • Keep pressure off your elbows:- Do not lean on your elbows a lot, such as when working at a desk.
  • Follow the R.I.C.E. plan (rest, ice, compression and elevation) whenever you have swelling, warmth or pain in your elbow.

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