Elbow Osteoarthritis, Osteophytes and Elbow Bursitis

After 15 years of bodywork, I have developed Elbow Osteoarthritis, Osteophytes and Elbow Bursitis in my dominate right arm. So I wanted to do some research and this is what I found.  

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Is Massage a Good Natural Treatment for Elbow Bursitis?

Elbow Arthritis Treatment
  • Activity modification.
  • Corticosteroid injections.
  • Icing or applying heat to the inflamed elbow.
  • Pain or anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Patient education about symptom management.

Contraindications -a condition or circumstance that suggests or indicates that a particular technique or drug should not be used in the case in question.

Many people that we talk to will have already tried deep tissue massage to treat their elbow bursitis. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst things that you can do as it will cause further irritation of the condition.


Unlike a muscular injury, which can respond well to massage, elbow bursitis contains inflammatory fluids which are encapsulated in the inflamed and swollen synovial lining of the elbow bursa. The problem with massage is that the fluid cannot be dispersed since it is encapsulated. Furthermore massaging directly over the bursitis will only further irritate the already inflamed synovial lining.

Massaging can however be extremely good for relieving areas where there is referred pain. Often people with elbow bursitis may experience pain in other areas of the arm, such as the forearm or shoulder.

If you are seeing a massage therapist it is a good idea to have discussion with them and request that they do not massage anywhere directly over or close to the bursitis. Any good massage therapist will have your best interests at heart and be more than happy to work with you to achieve the best outcome.

What is the prognosis for osteoarthritis of the elbow?
Although it can occur in any joint, it does not usually affect the elbow. There is no cure for osteoarthritis of the elbow, but medications, exercise, and surgery can help an individual live with minimal pain and optimal joint function.

Elbow arthritis occurs when the cartilage in the elbow becomes worn or damaged. Damage can occur from overuse due to age and repetitive activities, or as a result of an injury, such as a fracture or dislocation. Elbow arthritis can be extremely painful and can interfere with daily tasks that involve bending your arm.  

What is the best exercise for arthritis in the elbow?
Wrist turn

Bend your elbow at a right angle and hold out your hand, palm up. Turn your wrist slowly so that your palm is now facing down. Hold for five seconds, and then slowly release. Try to do this a total of 30 times with a break after every 10.

Massage therapists often use a variety of techniques and body parts to deliver massages, including their hands, forearms, and elbows. While the elbow can be a useful tool for applying pressure, repeated or excessive use of the elbow during massages can potentially lead to problems. One potential issue is the buildup of cartilage in the elbow joint, known as elbow osteoarthritis.


Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease characterized by the breakdown of cartilage and the development of bony outgrowths called osteophytes. Overuse of the elbow can contribute to the wear and tear of the joint, leading to this condition. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Swelling in the elbow can also result from bursitis, which is the inflammation of the bursae, fluid-filled sacs that cushion and reduce friction between bones, tendons, and muscles. Excessive pressure or repetitive movements can irritate the bursae, causing them to become inflamed and swollen.

To prevent these issues, it’s important for massage therapists to maintain proper body mechanics, use a variety of techniques, and distribute pressure across different areas of their body. They should also listen to their clients’ feedback and adjust their techniques accordingly to avoid applying excessive force on any particular joint or body part. If you are a massage therapist experiencing symptoms of overuse or if you are concerned about the potential risks associated with specific massage techniques, it would be best to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or physical therapist. They can evaluate your condition, provide appropriate advice, and recommend any necessary treatment options.


Elbow Osteoarthritis

The Science of Elbow Osteoarthritis issues when massage therapists develope these symptons in their elbows

Elbow osteoarthritis is a condition characterized by the degeneration of the cartilage in the elbow joint. It typically occurs due to wear and tear over time, repetitive stress on the joint, or as a result of a previous injury. While it is commonly associated with aging, it can also affect individuals who engage in repetitive motions or activities that place strain on the elbow joint, such as certain sports or occupations.

Massage therapists, who frequently use their hands, wrists, and elbows to apply pressure and manipulate soft tissues, may be susceptible to developing symptoms of elbow osteoarthritis. The repetitive nature of their work, combined with the significant force applied during massages, can contribute to the development or exacerbation of this condition.

When the cartilage in the elbow joint begins to deteriorate, it can lead to several symptoms, including pain, stiffness, swelling, and a reduced range of motion. Massage therapists may experience these symptoms in their elbows due to the repetitive strain they place on the joint during their work. Over time, the constant use of their elbows for applying pressure and performing techniques can contribute to the breakdown of the cartilage, leading to osteoarthritis symptoms.

Preventing or managing elbow osteoarthritis in massage therapists involves several strategies:

  1. Ergonomics: Implementing proper body mechanics and ergonomics during massages can help minimize the strain on the elbows and other joints. Techniques like using forearm strokes instead of relying solely on elbow pressure can distribute the workload more evenly.

  2. Strength and flexibility exercises: Regularly performing exercises that improve the strength and flexibility of the muscles around the elbow joint can help support and stabilize the joint, reducing the risk of osteoarthritis development or progression.

  3. Modifying techniques: Adaptations to massage techniques can be made to reduce stress on the elbows. This may involve incorporating alternative techniques or using tools or aids that reduce the reliance on direct elbow pressure.

  4. Rest and recovery: Allowing sufficient time for rest and recovery between massage sessions is essential for giving the joints a chance to recuperate and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

  5. Seeking treatment: If symptoms of elbow osteoarthritis persist or worsen, it is important for massage therapists to seek medical attention. A healthcare professional can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options, such as pain management strategies, physical therapy, or, in severe cases, surgical intervention.

It’s worth noting that the development of elbow osteoarthritis is multifactorial, and while the nature of a massage therapist’s work can contribute to the condition, other factors such as genetics, previous injuries, and overall joint health can also play a role. Therefore, maintaining a holistic approach to joint health and taking proactive steps to prevent and manage osteoarthritis is important for massage therapists and individuals in similar professions.


The Science of Elbow Osteoarthritis issues and how massage therapy can help


Elbow osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition that affects the elbow joint. While massage therapists can play a role in managing symptoms and providing relief, it’s important to note that they cannot directly treat or cure osteoarthritis. The following discussion will focus on the science behind elbow osteoarthritis and the potential role of massage therapy in managing its symptoms.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition characterized by the breakdown of cartilage, the protective tissue that covers the ends of bones within a joint. As the cartilage deteriorates, the bones can rub against each other, leading to pain, stiffness, swelling, and reduced range of motion. Elbow osteoarthritis can be caused by a variety of factors, including aging, overuse, repetitive motions, previous joint injuries, and genetic predisposition.

Massage therapy, when applied by a trained professional, can provide temporary relief for individuals with elbow osteoarthritis. The primary goals of massage therapy in this context are to alleviate pain, reduce muscle tension, improve circulation, and enhance overall relaxation. These effects can help individuals manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Massage therapists may use various techniques when working with clients who have elbow osteoarthritis. Effleurage, a gentle stroking motion, can help warm up the tissues and increase blood flow to the affected area. Petrissage, which involves kneading and squeezing the soft tissues, can help relax tight muscles and relieve tension. Friction and cross-fiber techniques may be used to break up adhesions and scar tissue, potentially improving joint mobility. However, it’s crucial to adjust the intensity and pressure of the massage based on the client’s comfort level and the severity of their condition.

In addition to hands-on techniques, massage therapists may incorporate other modalities such as heat or cold therapy, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation to further enhance the benefits of the treatment. These adjunctive therapies can help reduce pain and inflammation, promote tissue healing, and increase joint mobility.

While massage therapy can offer short-term relief and promote relaxation, it’s important to note that it does not address the underlying causes of osteoarthritis or reverse the degenerative process. For long-term management of elbow osteoarthritis, a comprehensive approach that includes exercise, physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, and, in some cases, medication or surgery may be necessary. Therefore, individuals with osteoarthritis should work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a tailored treatment plan that considers their specific needs and goals.

It’s worth mentioning that scientific research on the effectiveness of massage therapy for elbow osteoarthritis is limited. While some studies suggest that massage therapy may provide temporary pain relief and improve range of motion, more robust and rigorous research is needed to establish its long-term efficacy and optimal application for this specific condition.

In summary, elbow osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition that massage therapists may address by providing temporary relief and symptom management. However, it is essential for individuals with elbow osteoarthritis to seek a comprehensive treatment plan that is supervised by healthcare professionals to address the underlying causes and manage the condition effectively.


Osteophyte Elbow 


The Science of Osteophytes Elbow, it’s  issues, and causes when massage therapists develope these symptons in there elbows

Osteophytes, also known as bone spurs, are bony projections that develop along the edges of bones. When osteophytes occur in the elbow joint, it can lead to a condition known as osteophytes elbow or elbow osteophytes. This condition is characterized by the formation of bone spurs around the elbow joint, which can cause pain, limited range of motion, and other symptoms.

The development of osteophytes in the elbow joint can be caused by various factors, including:

  1. Aging: Osteophytes are more commonly observed in older individuals due to the natural wear and tear that occurs over time. As the joint surfaces degenerate, the body may respond by forming osteophytes.

  2. Repetitive stress: Activities that involve repetitive motions of the elbow joint, such as certain sports or occupations, can contribute to the development of osteophytes. The repeated stress on the joint can cause the body to create bony outgrowths as a protective response.

  3. Joint instability: Elbow joint instability, which may result from ligament injuries or other conditions, can lead to abnormal joint mechanics. This instability can cause excessive pressure and friction on the joint surfaces, prompting the formation of osteophytes.

  4. Arthritis: Certain types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, can cause the breakdown of cartilage in the elbow joint. As a result, the body may attempt to stabilize the joint by forming osteophytes.

When massage therapists develop symptoms of osteophytes in their elbows, it could be attributed to the repetitive nature of their work. The manual techniques employed during massage therapy often involve the use of the hands, fingers, and elbows, placing repetitive stress on the joints. Over time, this can lead to joint degeneration and the formation of osteophytes.

To manage osteophytes elbow, treatment options may include:

  1. Pain management: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other pain-relieving medications may be prescribed to alleviate discomfort associated with osteophytes.

  2. Physical therapy: Specific exercises and stretches can help improve joint mobility, strengthen the surrounding muscles, and alleviate symptoms.

  3. Corticosteroid injections: In some cases, corticosteroid injections may be administered to reduce inflammation and provide temporary pain relief.

  4. Surgical intervention: If conservative treatments fail to provide relief, surgical removal of the osteophytes may be considered. This is typically reserved for more severe cases.

It’s important for massage therapists experiencing symptoms of osteophytes in their elbows to consult with a healthcare professional, such as a physician or physical therapist. They can provide an accurate diagnosis, develop an appropriate treatment plan, and offer guidance on modifying massage techniques or incorporating ergonomic adjustments to reduce stress on the affected joints.

Elbow Bursitis


The Science of Elbow Bursitis it’s issues, and causes when massage therapists develope these symptons in there elbows


Elbow bursitis, also known as olecranon bursitis, is a condition characterized by inflammation and swelling of the bursa located at the back of the elbow. The bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between bones, tendons, and muscles, reducing friction during joint movement. When the bursa becomes irritated or inflamed, it can lead to pain, swelling, and limited mobility in the affected elbow.

There are several potential causes of elbow bursitis, including:

  1. Trauma: Direct trauma or repetitive pressure on the elbow, such as leaning on hard surfaces or frequent elbow impact, can cause irritation and inflammation of the bursa.

  2. Infection: Bacterial infection in the bursa can lead to a condition called septic bursitis. This typically occurs when bacteria enter the bursa through a cut or puncture wound, resulting in redness, warmth, pain, and swelling.

  3. Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and systemic lupus erythematosus, can increase the risk of developing elbow bursitis.

  4. Repetitive motions: People who engage in repetitive motions involving the elbow joint, such as throwing sports or certain occupational activities, may be more prone to developing bursitis.

When massage therapists develop symptoms of elbow bursitis, it is often related to the repetitive nature of their work and the stress placed on their elbows. Performing massage techniques for extended periods can exert pressure on the olecranon bursa, leading to inflammation and swelling.

The symptoms experienced by massage therapists with elbow bursitis may include:

  1. Pain and tenderness: There may be localized pain and tenderness at the back of the elbow. The pain can worsen with movement or pressure on the affected area.

  2. Swelling: The bursa may become swollen and appear visibly larger than normal. This swelling can limit the range of motion of the elbow joint.

  3. Redness and warmth: In cases of septic bursitis, the skin over the affected bursa may become red and warm to the touch.

To manage elbow bursitis, it is important to rest the affected elbow and avoid activities that worsen the symptoms. Applying ice packs and taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help reduce pain and inflammation. In some cases, a healthcare professional may recommend aspiration of fluid from the bursa or prescribe antibiotics if an infection is present.

Preventing elbow bursitis in massage therapists involves taking regular breaks, maintaining proper body mechanics during massages, and using supportive padding or cushions to minimize pressure on the elbows. Strengthening exercises and stretching routines that target the muscles around the elbow joint can also help improve stability and reduce the risk of bursitis.

If a massage therapist experiences persistent or severe symptoms of elbow bursitis, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment plan.



*Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a diagnosis, treatment, or prescription of any kind. The decision to use, or not to use, any information is the sole responsibility of the reader. These statements are not expressions of legal opinion relative to the scope of practice, medical diagnosis, or medical advice, nor do they represent an endorsement of any product, company, or specific massage therapy technique, modality, or approach. All trademarks, registered trademarks, brand names, registered brand names, logos, and company logos referenced in this post are the property of their owners.