Students Elbow Olecranon Bursitis Information

Students Elbow Olecranon Bursitis Information

Olecranon bursitis is known by many layman terms, mainly student's elbow, miner’s elbow, plumber’s elbow, and Popeye’s elbow.

 

 

Student's Elbow - Olecranon Bursitis

 

Anatomy As It Relates To Olecranon Bursitis

The olecranon is a thick large bony prominence that’s slightly curved. It’s situated at the upper end of the ulna (forearm bone). It’s the hard bony part felt at the back of the elbow. It’s also the bony part of the elbow that makes surface contact when one leans on their elbows or crawls through a tight space on their stomach, thus the terms student’s elbow, miner’s elbow, and plumber’s elbow.

The posterior surface of the olecranon is covered by a bursa. A bursa is a small fluid-filled sac that reduces friction around joints and helps to provide smooth movement of soft tissues over bones. In a normal state, the olecranon bursa has a small amount of lubricating fluid and isn’t palpable from the surface of the skin. However, compared to many other bursae in the body, the bursa near the olecranon is fairly superficial, making it a common site for bursitis.

What Is Olecranon Bursitis?

When the bursa located at the olecranon becomes inflamed, irritated, or infected, it’s called olecranon bursitis. The layman term Popeye’s elbow is often used because the inflammation often causes the olecranon to protrude outwardly like the elbow of the Popeye cartoon character.

What Causes Olecranon Bursitis?

There are several ways that the olecranon bursa may become ,inflamed, irritated, or infected:

Most often, the bursitis is related to a repetitive stress injuries. For example, someone that leans on their elbows a lot (student's elbow) or uses their elbows to crawl through tight spaces (plumber's elbow) may be unknowingly causing friction and mild irritation to the olecranon bursa from the constant pressure being applied to it. Excessive use of the elbow joint, such as with shoveling dirt during gardening or throwing a ball during sport-related activities, may also cause irritation and inflammation to the bursa. Both repetitive stress and overuse often leads to chronic bursitis.

Bursitis may also occur from a sudden forceful impact to the elbow near the bursa, such as from a fall, sport-related accident, or bumping the elbow forcefully on an object. The injury causes the bursa to produce abnormal amounts of fluid and/or the bursa has blood seeping into it from a nearby capillary injured during the impact. As the fluid and/or blood doesn’t have anywhere to go, the bursa swells.

Inflammatory arthritis can cause the inflammation of the bursa.

Gout may also cause bursitis from the crystal deposits it causes in synovial fluid.

Infection may occur from a scrape, scratch, or puncture wound on the elbow over the olecranon that becomes infected and allows the bacteria to enter the bursa. Far less commonly, the bursa may become infected from a blood borne systemic infection. Related to bursitis, infection seems to most commonly affect those with an already compromised immune system.

What Are The Symptoms Of Olecranon Bursitis?

* swelling usually gradually appears, dissipates, and then reoccurs periodically with a chronic injury
* swelling usually suddenly appears with an acute traumatic injury
* the greater the swelling, the more motion will be restricted
* localized inflammation, heat, pain, and redness; swollen armpit lymph nodes; and an elevated body temperature usually accompany infection-related bursitis
* pain may range from mild to severe enough to limit elbow movement (severe pain is most often associated with trauma and infection causes)
* pain usually intensifies with elbow movement and when direct pressure is applied to the elbow
* an egg shaped lump up to 6 cm wide on the back of the elbow
* chronic bursitis may leave behind small gravel-like lumps once the swelling subsides (these little lumps are from scar tissue forming)

 

Strengthening Exercises

These Elbow Exercises are ideal to build strength and flexibility.

Massage Treatment

These Elbow Massage Techniques are of great value in pain relief; circulation stimulation; dispersing blood and fluid accumulations; swelling reduction; and relaxing muscle spasms, especially when used alongside the Sinew Therapeutics liniments and soaks.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage is characterized by swelling, redness, pain, and possibly a local sensation of heat, indicating inflammation. If coolness makes your pain feel better, then the Acute Stage Treatment is recommended.

 

ACUTE STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The acute stage starts the moment an injury occurs and lasts until the swelling and inflammation are gone. The swelling is the result of the blockage of blood, tissue fluids and circulation in the elbow because their normal movement has been disrupted by the force of the injury. Just like cars back up behind a traffic jam, causing congestion, exhaust and overheating; blood and fluids back up behind the injured elbow, causing pain, inflammation, lumps and swelling.

The sensation of heat is due to the warming action of the blood and fluids overheating in the injured elbow as they back up and accumulate. Stiffness and decreased mobility are due to spasms in tendons and ligaments that have contracted reflexively beyond their normal range from the impact of the injury.

As ligaments and tendons stretch and tear, blood from ruptured blood vessels becomes trapped in the local tissues. As the trapped blood clots up, it sticks the tissues together creating adhesions. Adhesions cause pain, inflammation and restricted movement because the layers of tissue that used to slide smoothly across one another now adhere and snap which interferes with normal functioning. It is essential to break up clotted blood as quickly as possible to prevent adhesions and scar tissue from forming.

During the acute stage it is very important to restore normal circulation to the elbow, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, reduce swelling, and reduce the redness and heat associated with inflammation. By restoring the flow of blood, fluids, and circulation in the elbow, then pain is relieved, damaged tissues can regenerate with healthy functional tissue, and the elbow can strengthen and regain it's mobility.

 

ACUTE STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Apply the Sinew Herbal Ice on your elbow to reduce redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the elbow. This first-aid treatment is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the healing process. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

Ice is not recommended because it does not help repair damaged tissues and keeps everything in the injured area frozen, causing the stagnation of blood and fluids and the contraction of muscles, tendons and ligaments. In Chinese sports medicine ice is not used and is considered a culprit in injuries that donít heal well.

2. Massage your elbow with Acute Sinew Liniment to relieve pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, break up clotted blood and stagnant fluids, and stimulate circulation of blood and fluids to help cells quickly repair damaged tissues. Sinew Herbal Ice can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.

 

 

CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

 

This stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness, and/or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If heat makes your pain feel better, then the Chronic Stage Treatment is recommended.


CHRONIC STAGE SYMPTOMS:

 

The chronic stage begins once the swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel aching pain and stiffness. This is because there are still accumulations of stagnant blood and fluids in your elbow that are blocking circulation and blood supply to damaged tissues, creating residual pain, stiffness and weakness. You may actually feel hard nodules like sand in the tissue, indicating accumulation, calcification, and adhesions, which all cause pain, stiffness, and joint instability.

Your elbow may feel more sensitive to the cold and ache in cold and damp weather due to impaired circulation. When you move your elbow you may hear a clicking or popping sound from the tendons and ligaments slipping very slightly in and out of their natural alignment indicating weakness and joint instability, causing chronic pain and a cycle of reinjury. These symptoms are often the result of failure to treat the injury properly from the outset and overicing.

Increasing circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues is very important in treating chronic injuries because tendons and ligaments do not have an extensive direct supply of blood. That is why chronic injuries can be slow to heal. Increasing local circulation also prevents cold and dampness from penetrating the injured area, preventing pain and stiffness.

During the chronic stage it is very important to break up remaining accumulations of blood and fluids, and increase circulation and blood supply to the damaged tissues. By increasing circulation and blood flow in the elbow, then pain and stiffness is relieved, and the tendons and ligaments can strengthen to restore stability.


CHRONIC STAGE TREATMENT:

 

1. Massage your elbow with Chronic Sinew Liniment to relieve pain and stiffness, strongly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. Sinew Injury Poultice can be used in-between applications.

2. Apply the Sinew Injury Poultice on your elbow to relieve residual pain and stiffness, significantly stimulate circulation and blood flow to damaged tissues, and further promote the healing of overstretched tendons and ligaments. The Sinew Injury Poultice is particularly useful if your elbow is more painful in cold and damp weather. Chronic Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.

3. The Sinew Sports Massage Oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It warms and stimulates your muscles, increases circulation and relieves tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.