Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Elbow Bursitis Evaluation

The evaluation of elbow bursitis begins with a medical history and physical examination.

Physical findings in someone with elbow bursitis may include:

  • Swelling around the elbow
  • Tenderness overlying the elbow bones

The diagnosis of elbow bursitis can usually be made without testing. Tests may be required to exclude conditions that may cause symptoms similar to elbow bursitis.

Tests that may be used to evaluate elbow bursitis may include:
  • Elbow x-rays
  • Arthrocentesis:
    • Sometimes an aspiration or arthrocentesis is needed. In this procedure a needle is used to aspirate fluid from the bursa or joint space. Fluid taken from a bursa will show no signs of infection.
  • Elbow MRI scan

For more information:

Continue to Elbow Bursitis Treatment

Last Updated: Dec 10, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Elbow Bursitis References
  1. Choudhery V. The role of diagnostic needle aspiration in olecranon bursitis. J Accid Emerg Med. 1999 Jul;16(4):282-3. [10417940]
  2. Floemer F, Morrison WB, Bongartz G, Ledermann HP. MRI characteristics of olecranon bursitis. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2004 Jul;183(1):29-34. [15208103]
  3. Stell IM. Septic and non-septic olecranon bursitis in the accident and emergency department--an approach to management. J Accid Emerg Med. 1996 Sep;13(5):351-3. [889486]
  4. Stewart NJ, Manzanares JB, Morrey BF. Surgical treatment of aseptic olecranon bursitis. J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 1997 Jan-Feb;6(1):49-54. [9071682]
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