Causes of Elbow Joint Pain

There can be a number of conditions and diseases which can cause pain to the elbow joint. Most people associate chronic joint pain with arthritis, but you should always consult your doctor to determine the cause of elbow joint pain. One of the more common causes is bursitis-a painful disease that affects many people each year. Trauma and overuse can leads to bursitis.

What Is Bursitis?

A bursa is a small sac filled with fluid. When functioning normally, the bursa releases fluid which lubricates the joints and allows them to glide smoothly. When the bursa is injured, the sac no longer releases the fluid and your joints begin to rub against each other, causing friction and pain.

Elbow Joint Pain

Although you can not feel it, the elbow bursa is located behind your elbow, over the pointed tip. Bursitis to the elbow is referred to as olecranon (oh-LEK-rah-non) bursitis. This is normally a result of repetitive movement or prolonged, excessive pressure to the area. People who perform repetitive activities, such as tennis players or construction workers, commonly develop this condition.

High Risk Factors

There are a number of medical conditions which place people at higher risk for bursitis:

* Diabetes
* Alcoholism
* Steroid therapy
* Trauma
* Uremia
* Skin disease

How to Treat Bursitis

There are several treatments for bursitis pain, ranging from rest to surgery. Treating physicians normally start with conservative therapy and move on to more aggressive treatment if necessary.

RICE Therapy: Rest, Ice, Compression , and Elevation is the most common treatment for bursitis pain. Depending on the severity of your elbow joint pain, this may or may not be successful.

Steroids: Your medical doctor can prescribe medications to reduce the pain and swelling. Corticosteroids, which can be injected directly into the affected site, are widely recommended because they attack the problem and relieve the symptoms more quickly.

Joint Therapy / Exercises: Your doctor may recommend physical therapy or a home exercise program to strengthen the muscles. They may offer a corticosteroid injection with therapy, which in many cases offers immediate relief.


NSAIDs-Anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen may be helpful in relieving bursitis pain.

Antibiotics-In cases of infectious or septic bursitis, fluid is usually collected for lab analysis and antibiotics are required. Depending on the severity of your condition, intravenous antibiotics may be necessary.

Alternative Medicine-There are a number of all-natural supplements on the market, such as Celadrin, which are known to promote joint health and have seen excellent clinical results.

Invasive Treatments:

In some cases, the bursa fluid may have to be aspirated or removed with a needle and syringe. The fluid is then sent to a laboratory for analysis. In severe or repeated cases of bursitis, surgical drainage and removal of the infected bursa (bursectomy) may be required. In most cases, the joint functions normally after the procedure.

Once you know the causes of your chronic joint pain, the good news is that it can be treated. The first step is getting the proper diagnosis from your physician.