After 15 years of working doing therapeutic sports recovery bodywork as an LMT, it has finally caught up with me. I recently had a cortisone injection for my right elbow bursitis after the elbow was drained of a lot of bursa fluid that had blood in the vile. Update: Just finished right elbow Bursa- Olecranon Bursitis removal (08/29/23) surgery. I did some research on these subjects and this is what I found. Update 9-11-23 : My elbow keeps filling up with fluid so I’m doing more research on this also. See below
Also see my other post at : https://santabarbaradeeptissue.com/index.php/2023/06/17/elbow-osteoarthritis-osteophytes-and-elbow-bursitis/
BTW- I recommend that all bodyworkers wear these on both their elbows – Learn from my mistakes!
Cortisone injections or shots are a common treatment that doctors prescribe for musculoskeletal issues. Cortisone is a steroid and also has many other medical applications. Dermatologists, for example, use it to treat certain skin conditions and to reduce inflammation.
While it is possible to drain a bursa sac yourself, it is generally not recommended. This is because there is a risk of further injury or infection. Additionally, the procedure can be quite painful. If you are considering draining a bursa sac yourself, be sure to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider first.
- Surgical Treatment: If bursitis does not respond to these treatments, surgery may be considered to remove the bursa sac. There are several different surgical procedures that have been described, but traditionally the sac is removed in its entirety through an incision directly over the back of the elbow. The major problem with surgery is that healing incisions on the back of the Incision wounds normally take about 10 days to heal but this can depend greatly on the type of surgery that was performed (arthroscopic vs. open surgery). Most patients find significant improvement from about 6 to 12 weeks after the surgery. There are times, of course when the area will become quite sore and then go away again – this is often due to movement and stresses put on the post-surgical area.*
- elbow can lead to wound healing problems and infection. Most surgeons recommend trying to avoid surgery for this condition if possible.
How Long Will It Take To Recover From A Bursectomy?
(*”Trochanteric Bursitis Surgery Sydney NSW | Hip Injury Treatment Darlinghurst.” Hipandkneesurgery.com.au. N. p., 2018. Web. 18 Oct. 2018.)
In most cases, a new bursa will grow back within a couple of weeks after a bursectomy. The new bursa will most likely be healthy and will not have the pain and inflammation that may have been experienced with the removed bursa.
This is exactly what was done to me.
The persistent accumulation of fluid in the olecranon bursa after its removal, known as bursitis recurrence, can be caused by various factors. While I’m not a medical professional and cannot provide a definitive diagnosis, here are some potential reasons for the recurrent fluid buildup:
Incomplete Removal: If the olecranon bursa was not completely removed during the surgery, even a small portion of the bursa can lead to fluid production and recurrence.
Infection: Infection in the surgical site can lead to the formation of pus and fluid accumulation. Infections can sometimes be resistant to treatment, requiring additional interventions.
Reinjury or Overuse: Physical activities or movements that put excessive strain on the elbow joint, especially soon after surgery, can lead to irritation and fluid production in the area.
Inflammation: Persistent inflammation around the olecranon bursa, which may not have been fully resolved by the surgery, can contribute to fluid buildup.
Underlying Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout, can lead to recurrent bursitis even after surgical intervention.
Poor Postoperative Care: Inadequate postoperative care, such as not following recommended rest, immobilization, and rehabilitation protocols, can contribute to complications and recurrence.
Foreign Bodies: Sometimes, foreign bodies or particles left in the surgical area can trigger inflammation and fluid buildup.
Secondary Causes: Fluid buildup may be a secondary symptom of an underlying medical issue, so it’s essential to consider any systemic conditions that might be contributing to the problem.
To address recurrent olecranon bursitis after surgery, it is crucial to consult with a healthcare professional, preferably the surgeon who performed the procedure or a specialist in orthopedics. They can conduct a thorough evaluation, which may include imaging tests like ultrasound or MRI, to determine the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment options. Treatment may include draining the fluid, antibiotic therapy if infection is present, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, or, in some cases, a revision surgery to address any issues that were not resolved during the initial procedure.
more info at:
Can the bursa sac burst?
- increase appetite – which may lead to weight gain if you find it difficult to control what you eat.
- rapid mood swings and mood changes – becoming aggressive, irritable, and short-tempered with people.
- thin skin that bruises easily.
- muscle weakness.
- delayed wound healing.
Cortisone Shots Pros & Cons
What is a corticosteroid injection/cortisone shot?
Cortisone is a type of steroid that mimics your body’s natural corticosteroid hormones (cortisone and hydrocortisone) produced by the adrenal glands. They are not the same as anabolic steroids sometimes misused by athletes and bodybuilders. Unlike anabolic steroids, corticosteroids don’t increase your muscle strength.
What do cortisone shots help with?
Corticosteroids that are used appropriately can help a variety of conditions such as:
- Tennis elbow
- Golfers elbow
- Bursitis of the hip, knee, or shoulder
- Frozen shoulder
- Plantar fasciitis
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Herniated disc
- Rotator cuff injury
- Knee pain/joint pain
Cortisone Shot Cons
Cortisone shots’ ability to almost entirely relieve pain is extraordinary, but some negatives exist. The side effects that a cortisone shot can trigger may counterbalance or outweigh its ability to reduce pain and inflammation.
Cortisone Shot Side Effects
According to the National Institutes of Health, the side effects from cortisone shots include:
- Dizziness or headaches.
- Skin issues, including dryness, thinness, acne, dry skin, and red or purple blotches.
- Fatigue and trouble sleeping.
- Mood swings and disturbances.
- Increased appetite, weight gain, and water retention.
More Serious Cortisone Shot Side Effects Include:
- Vision problems.
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
- Swelling in various areas of the body.
- Rash, hives, and itching.
Side effects can vary from person to person. They could be mild or severe. They might appear with short-term use or never show up at all. Long-term, repeated administration of cortisone shots can be particularly problematic, as frequent injections in the same joint can damage it, as well as the surrounding soft tissue.
It’s important to remember that cortisone injections alter your immunity function, lowering the inflammatory response that your body mounts to fight injury and infection. This will reduce pain and swelling, but it can leave you susceptible to infections and other issues.
What Are the Pros of Cortisone Shots?
While cortisone shots can offer substantial pain relief to some people, cortisone is not actually a pain reliever. Cortisone works because it reduces swelling and inflammation, which are major contributors to some painful conditions.
Another advantage of cortisone injection is that the doctor administers the shot at an injection site directly where it is needed. This means that the drug’s effect is limited to a specific area and you avoid having your entire system exposed to a high concentration of the drug.
Elbow bursitis develops when the thin sac of fluid between the skin and the elbow’s pointy tip becomes inflamed. When this happens, it can cause swelling, pain, redness, and heat in the elbow. These symptoms can cause the elbow to look deformed and make it difficult for you to perform day-to-day activities. There are a variety of non-surgical treatments for elbow bursitis, including rest, antibiotics (to treat infections), anti-inflammatory medications, and corticosteroids. Most patients are able to recover using these treatments.
When conservative treatment methods fail to work, your doctor may recommend elbow bursa surgery. This typically applies to patients who have chronic elbow bursitis. The procedure will involve removing the defective bursa. Elbow bursa surgery is generally an outpatient procedure and is a fairly short surgery to perform.
Elbow bursa surgery can be performed arthroscopically using minimally invasive techniques. The surgeon will make a very small incision through which miniature tools will be used to perform the surgery. Recovery from elbow bursa surgery will be shorter when minimally invasive techniques are used.
Elbow Bursa Removal Recovery
Recovery from elbow bursa surgery generally takes about a month. Immediately following the surgery, you will most likely wear a splint to immobilize the elbow while it recovers. Elbow bursa surgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, so there is no need for a hospital stay. However, if there are complications or if your overall health is impacted, your surgeon may recommend a short hospital stay.
For the first few days following surgery, it is best to have someone with you who can help you move around the house and perform basic functions. Once you heal a little and get used to the immobilization, you will be able to do a lot of day-to-day functions on your own.
After some recovery, you will be asked to begin physical therapy. This will help strengthen your elbow, improve flexibility and mobility, and lessen pain symptoms. The sooner and longer you perform physical therapy exercises, the better results you will get. It will also help shorten your recovery.
Minimally invasive elbow bursa surgery can help shorten your recovery period and reduce your pain symptoms. Minimally invasive techniques cause less trauma to your body, which means there is less “healing” to be done following surgery. Not everyone is a good candidate for minimally invasive surgery. Talk to your surgeon about whether this is a good option for you.
Elbow bursitis, also known as olecranon bursitis, is a condition characterized by inflammation of the bursa sac located at the tip of the elbow. The bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between bones, tendons, and muscles, reducing friction during movement. When the bursa becomes inflamed, it can cause pain, swelling, and limited mobility in the affected elbow.
Causes of Elbow Bursitis:
- Repetitive Stress: Elbow bursitis can develop due to repetitive movements or activities that put pressure on the elbow joint, such as leaning on the elbow for extended periods.
- Trauma: A direct blow to the elbow can lead to bursitis, causing the bursa to fill with fluid and become inflamed.
- Infection: In some cases, bacteria can infect the bursa, resulting in infectious elbow bursitis, which is more severe and may require different treatment approaches.
Diagnosis: Elbow bursitis is usually diagnosed through a physical examination, medical history review, and sometimes imaging tests such as X-rays or ultrasounds to rule out other conditions that may have similar symptoms. Aspiration, a procedure in which fluid is extracted from the bursa, may also be performed to analyze the fluid and determine the cause of the inflammation, especially in cases of infectious bursitis.
Conservative Treatment: In mild cases of elbow bursitis, conservative treatment is often the first line of management. It may include:
- Rest: Avoiding activities that aggravate the condition helps reduce inflammation.
- Ice: Applying ice packs to the affected area can alleviate pain and swelling.
- Compression: Wearing a compression bandage may help reduce swelling.
- Elevation: Elevating the arm can help reduce fluid accumulation in the bursa.
Cortisone Injections: Cortisone injections, also known as corticosteroid injections, are commonly used in the treatment of elbow bursitis when conservative measures fail to provide relief. Corticosteroids are powerful anti-inflammatory medications that are directly injected into the inflamed bursa. The goal is to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain.
Mechanism of Cortisone Injections: Cortisone is a synthetic version of cortisol, a hormone produced naturally by the body’s adrenal glands. It works by suppressing the immune system’s inflammatory response. When injected into the bursa, cortisone reduces the production of inflammatory substances, leading to a decrease in swelling and pain.
Effectiveness of Cortisone Injections: Cortisone injections can be highly effective in providing short-term relief from the symptoms of elbow bursitis. Many patients experience a significant reduction in pain and swelling within a few days after the injection. However, it’s essential to note that cortisone injections are not a cure for the underlying cause of bursitis and may not prevent future flare-ups.
Risks and Side Effects: While cortisone injections can be beneficial, they are not without risks. Potential side effects include temporary flare-ups of pain, thinning of the skin at the injection site, discoloration, and weakening of the nearby tendons. Additionally, repeated cortisone injections can lead to further damage to the tissues and joints, so doctors typically limit the number of injections given to a patient.
Conclusion: Elbow bursitis is a condition that can cause discomfort and limit the functionality of the affected elbow. Cortisone injections can be a valuable tool in managing inflammation and providing short-term relief. However, it’s crucial for individuals with elbow bursitis to work closely with their healthcare providers to determine the best treatment plan, as cortisone injections should be used judiciously and in conjunction with other therapeutic approaches to address the root cause of bursitis.
Surgery for an infected bursa. If the bursa is infected and it does not improve with antibiotics or by removing fluid from the elbow, surgery to remove the entire bursa may be needed. This surgery may be combined with further use of oral or intravenous antibiotics. The bursa usually grows back as a non-inflamed, normally functioning bursa over a period of several months.
Surgery for the noninfected bursa. If elbow bursitis is not a result of infection, surgery may still be recommended if nonsurgical treatments do not work. In this case, surgery to remove the bursa is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. The surgery does not disturb any muscle, ligament, or joint structures.
Recovery. Your doctor will apply a splint to your arm after the procedure to protect your skin. In most cases, casts or prolonged immobilization are not necessary.
Although formal physical therapy after surgery is not usually needed, your doctor will recommend specific exercises to improve your range of motion. These are typically permitted within a few days of the surgery.
Your skin should be well healed within 12 to 16 days after the surgery, and after 3 to 4 weeks, your doctor may allow you to fully use your elbow. Your elbow may need to be padded or protected for several months to prevent re-injury.
It is an outpatient procedure with little downtime afterward. After the procedure, your doctor will splint your arm to protect it from reinjury and infection and recommend a physical rehabilitation program to begin a few days after surgery to strengthen your muscles and improve your range of motion.
Discuss in-depth Elbow Bursitis Surgery, the recovery, and the success rate
Elbow bursitis surgery, also known as olecranon bursitis surgery, is a medical procedure performed to treat severe or chronic cases of elbow bursitis that have not responded to conservative treatments such as rest, ice, compression, and medication. Elbow bursitis is a condition in which the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac located over the bony prominence at the back of the elbow (the olecranon), becomes inflamed and swollen. Surgery is typically considered when the bursitis is causing significant pain, limiting range of motion, or interfering with daily activities.
Surgical Procedure: The surgical approach for elbow bursitis may vary depending on the specific case and the surgeon’s preference. However, the general steps involved in the surgery are as follows:
Preparation: The patient is usually administered anesthesia, which can be local, regional, or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the surgery and the patient’s overall health.
Incision: A small incision is made over the swollen area of the elbow. The incision allows the surgeon to access the bursa and remove it, along with any inflamed tissue.
Bursa Removal: The surgeon carefully removes the inflamed bursa sac. In some cases, the bursa may be partially removed, and in others, it may be completely excised.
Drainage and Cleaning: Any excess fluid or debris in the area is drained, and the surgical site is thoroughly cleaned.
Closure: The incision is then closed using sutures or staples, and a sterile dressing is applied.
Postoperative Care: After surgery, the patient’s arm may be placed in a splint or brace to immobilize the elbow and facilitate healing.
Recovery: The recovery process after elbow bursitis surgery varies from person to person and depends on factors such as the extent of the surgery, individual healing capacity, and adherence to postoperative instructions. Generally, the recovery timeline involves several stages:
Immediate Postoperative Period: During the initial days after surgery, the focus is on pain management, wound care, and preventing infection. The patient may be advised to keep the arm elevated to reduce swelling.
Physical Therapy: As healing progresses, the patient may begin physical therapy to regain elbow range of motion and strength. Physical therapy exercises are gradually introduced to prevent stiffness and promote optimal function.
Splint/Brace: The splint or brace may be worn for a few weeks to protect the surgical site and support the healing process.
Return to Activities: Depending on the type of surgery and the individual’s progress, patients may gradually return to light activities. Full recovery and return to strenuous activities may take several weeks to a few months.
Success Rate: The success rate of elbow bursitis surgery is generally high, with most patients experiencing relief from pain and improved elbow function. However, success can depend on various factors, including the following:
Early Intervention: Success is more likely when surgery is performed before the bursitis becomes chronic and causes irreversible damage.
Proper Rehabilitation: Following the postoperative rehabilitation plan, including physical therapy exercises, is crucial for achieving optimal outcomes.
Patient Compliance: Adhering to postoperative instructions regarding wound care, activity restrictions, and follow-up appointments is essential for a successful recovery.
Underlying Conditions: Success may be influenced by the presence of any underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or autoimmune disorders, that can affect healing.
Surgeon’s Skill: The skill and experience of the surgeon play a significant role in the success of the procedure.
As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications, such as infection, excessive scarring, nerve damage, and recurrence of bursitis. It’s important for patients to have a thorough discussion with their healthcare provider before opting for surgery and to follow the recommended aftercare guidelines for the best possible outcome.
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*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.