3 Easy Elbow Bursitis Exercises You Can Do At Home

Elbow Bursitis Home Treatments

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Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes read

Why do we call bumping our elbow “hitting your funny bone?” We all know there’s nothing funny about the pain that can come with that, especially if you have elbow bursitis.

In this article, we’ll discuss what elbow bursitis is and how to treat elbow bursitis at home.

What is Elbow Bursitis?

Pain due to elbow Bursitis

Each of our joints has fluid-filled pockets called bursa to help reduce pressure when you move the joint.

While bursa are great, they can become swollen, inflamed, or irritated and start to cause pain.

When the bursa in your elbow becomes inflamed it’s called elbow bursitis.

How do you know if you have Elbow Bursitis?

Common elbow bursitis symptoms include pain, swelling, and potentially even warmth or redness over the tip of your elbow.

Let’s break down the symptoms of elbow bursitis a little more:

Pain: Inflamed bursa are really tender to the touch. Your elbow has a bursa on the boney tip that runs to the back of your arm.

This means, that if you feel pain on the tip of your elbow when you press against it you may have bursitis.

Swelling: If swelling is really bad you could see a pointed tip at the end of your elbow which is sometimes referred to as “Popeye’s elbow.”

While there are things you could admire about Popeye, the extra point at the end of the elbow is not ideal, especially when it comes to bursitis.

Warmth or Redness: Compare one elbow to the other. If you notice the painful side is warmer and red this could be a sign of infection in your bursa.

What Causes Elbow Bursitis?

Cause of Elbow Bursitis | Feel Good Life

One reason you may have elbow bursitis is from trauma to the elbow.

This could have happened from landing on your elbow during a fall or bumping your elbow against something – again, there’s nothing really funny about hitting your funny bone.

You could also have bursitis from typing for long periods of time with your elbow resting on a hard surface.

Thanks to Covid many of us are spending significantly more time at our computers and that could be why you’re feeling more elbow pain now.  

A third common reason is overuse. If you have a job, hobby, or sport that puts pressure on the elbow you could develop bursitis.

What are some Elbow Bursitis Home Treatments?

Easy Elbow Bursitis home treatment and exercises

• Try to avoid movements that cause irritation to the elbow. This will help stop the trigger for inflammation.

• Try compression sleeve to help reduce swelling and pressure in the bursa.

• Use ice to reduce inflammation. Remember, when using ice only use it for a max of 20 minutes and then let the skin breathe for a while. You can repeat this 2-3 times in a day depending on your pain level and swelling.

• There are also anti-inflammatory pain medications you can use, but make sure to speak to your primary care physician before trying any new medication or changing medication.

What if Home Treatment Doesn’t Work?

If elbow bursitis home remedies aren’t working after 3-4 weeks then you should see your Primary Care Physician.

They may recommend draining the bursa or getting a Cortisone injection to reduce inflammation.

If pain still occurs, they may recommend surgery for elbow bursitis or an x-ray to see if the inflammation is being caused by a bone spur.

Easy Elbow Bursitis Exercises You Can Do At Home

What are Some Elbow Bursitis Exercises?

The best treatment for elbow bursitis is to reduce inflammation with rest, ice, and compression first. If you’ve noticed pain improve, you can start on some gentle stretches:

Wrist Flexor Stretch:

Wrist flexor for Elbow Bursitis

1. Extend your elbow and then extend your wrist

2. Gently hold your wrist in extension for 30 seconds then rest.

3. Repeat three times.

Wrist Extensor Stretch:

1. Extend your elbow and then flex your wrist

2. Gently hold your wrist in flexion for 30 seconds then rest.

3. Repeat three times.

wrist extension for elbow bursitis

Elbow Flexion Stretch:

Easy Elbow Bursitis Exercises You Can Do At Home

1. Gently flex your elbow pulling your wrist towards your shoulder.

2. Gently hold your wrist in extension for 30 seconds then rest.

3. Repeat three times.

Final Thoughts

Remember, pain on your funny bone is anything but funny! If you think you have elbow bursitis try to reduce inflammation at home using the tips we covered in this article.

If pain continues, speak to your Primary Care Physician. If pain improves, try out the gentle stretches we discussed. 

Comment below which stretch you like best!


Can Elbow Bursitis Go Away On Its Own?

Depending on the severity of the inflammation, elbow bursitis can go away on its own. You’re more likely to see faster results with rest, ice, and avoiding movements that irritate your elbow. If symptoms don’t improve reach out to your Primary Care Physician.

How Long Should Elbow Bursitis Last?

Again, this depends on the severity of symptoms. If you’ve taken steps to help with pain but still have pain after 3-4 weeks reach out to your Primary Care Physician.

What Can Be Mistaken For Elbow Bursitis?

It is very common for elbow bursitis to be confused with medial or lateral epicondylitis. Medial and lateral epicondylitis stem from tight forearm muscles and can cause elbow pain.

Wondering What's Next?

Discover 11 Easy, At-Home “Stretch Exercises” for Stronger, Pain-Free Joints (click below)


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