Bursitis is an inflammatory disease of the joint bag of the movable joint. It can develop suddenly, so it is important to have at least a general idea about it. For information on the causes of bursitis of the elbow, symptoms and treatment of this disease, as well as whether you can help yourself at home, read this article.
What is elbow bursitis?
Joints provide mobility of the limbs. To ensure painless friction between bones and tendons, lubrication is necessary, the role of which is performed by synovial fluid. It provides smooth sliding of the bones while moving. Bursas are the periarticular bags in which this fluid is located. For various reasons, the inflammatory process can begin in these synovial bags.
Inflammation is accompanied by intensive formation and accumulation of exudate (fluid) in the paraarticular bag. This disease and received the name of bursitis. In this article we will look at inflammation of the bursa of the elbow joint, and you can also read about why the joints of the fingers hurt.
Forms and types of bursitis
Bursitis is a disease that can occur in both acute and chronic forms. In the first case, the symptoms of bursitis (about them below) appear suddenly and grow very quickly, within 2-3 days. After this, there may be apparent relief, the symptoms may gradually disappear. Meanwhile, rejoice too early. Treatment of bursitis of the elbow joint at home or the absence of any treatment at all can lead to the acquisition of an ailment of the chronic form. The onset of this stage of bursitis may be not only the result of undertreated acute inflammation. In some cases, synovial fluid is able to accumulate gradually over a long time, up to several months.
The chronic form can lead to loss of mobility of the joint due to the formation of cicatricial adhesions in it.
Septic (infectious) and aseptic bursitis are also distinguished.
By the nature of the contents of the inflamed synovial sac, bursitis can be:
- serous (exudate does not contain pus; this is the easiest form);
- purulent (in the articular bag pus is formed);
- hemorrhagic (blood enters the cavity of the inflamed joint).
Why does the elbow bursitis appear?
Inflammation may develop due to the following reasons:
- injury (blow, fall, etc.);
- prolonged increased load on the joint, including prolonged support on the elbow - "student bursitis";
- professional overload (most often - in the sport associated with a sharp lifting of weights or with the movements of hands with a large amplitude);
- inflammatory diseases caused by pathogenic microorganisms during their penetration into the articular bag;
- open wound of the elbow, sometimes - just an infected abrasion;
- as a complication of viral infections, including boils, through the lymphatic system (lymphogenous);
- metabolic disorders leading to the deposition of calcium salts in the tendons (calcareous bursitis);
- arthritis of various origins.
Symptoms of the elbow bursitis
The acute form of the disease begins most often with swelling in the elbow area. At first, it can be painless, so the chance to start timely treatment is often missed. Redness (hyperemia) appears. Then the swelling is accompanied by aching pain. The joint partially loses its mobility. Palpation (pressing the tumor) is painful.
If bursitis is accompanied by a sharp rise in temperature to high values, it is most likely a case of an infectious, septic form - purulent phlegmonous bursitis. The pain intensifies and becomes sharp, shooting, throbbing.
Further course of the disease
After the onset of the primary symptoms of the disease, pathological changes may occur in the joint. Synovial fluid that accumulates in the cavity of the bag of the diseased joint can cause serous soaking of nearby tissues. If the composition of the exudate has a microbial flora, the purulent form develops quickly.
There is a high risk of developing cellulitis - the transfer of purulent inflammation to nearby soft tissues. Phlegmonous bursitis may be accompanied by necrotic lesions of the tissues of the articular sac. The further course of septic-type bursitis depends on the direction in which the purulent process spreads. Foci may be formed in the subcutaneous and intermuscular spaces. Infection of the joint cavity can lead to the development of purulent type arthritis.
If a pus breaks out, it is important not to introduce a secondary infection and not to start the process (find out what to do if the joints crack). Often after the pus breaks out, the patient believes that the crisis has passed and the disease has subsided. The treatment is terminated (if it started at all) or limited to domestic lotions. You should know that in this case, the treatment of bursitis of the elbow joint with folk remedies and the refusal of qualified assistance can lead to the formation of a non-healing fistula.
Traumatic uninfected bursitis can lead to the growth of connective tissue. Scars, growths and adhesions form on the thickened wall of the synovial sac. In neglected situations, the synovial membrane expands and makes the cavity of the articular multi-chamber bag. All of the above complications require skilled medical care and may be an indication for surgery. They are determined by the attending physician.
Surgical intervention with elbow bursitis
In the treatment of purulent varieties of the disease shown surgery. The most frequent and effective of them in the acute stage of development is the puncture of the articular sac. To do this, a needle is inserted into the synovial sac, through which the contents are first removed, and then the cavity is washed with antibacterial agents. If there is purulent exudate, the procedure can be performed several times. Local anesthesia is used, hospitalization is not required.
If the course of purulent bursitis is complicated, drainage may be used. The cavity of the bag is opened, and drainage is inserted into it. It ensures the outflow of purulent exudate as it is formed. Drainage is removed after the symptoms disappear and the purulent discharge stops. Joint drainage is usually performed in the hospital, as it requires constant monitoring.
In more severe cases, a bursectomy is performed. This is a deep surgical intervention with the removal of a part of the bursa and thorough sanitation of the cavity. In the postoperative period, complete peace is required for healing and the formation of a new synovial sac. It is provided by a tire overlay.
Treatment of bursitis of the elbow joint at home
Treat the acute form of the disease should be under medical supervision. The indications for visiting the medical institution are the very first signs of the disease - swelling of the elbow and the first painful sensations. The main question in this case is to correctly and as soon as possible determine the form of the disease. The course of treatment may differ fundamentally! In particular, this applies to antibiotic therapy.
In what cases and how exactly can you effectively help yourself at home?
Remember that any folk remedies can only help with serous bursitis of the elbow. No purulent forms of elbow bursitis can not be treated at home!
- First of all, give yourself first aid. It is to ensure the immobility of the patient's joint, rest. It is best to put a splint or splint on your arm. After 5-7, a maximum of 10 days, the joint needs to begin to develop, even if you have to overcome the pain.
- You can use an elastic bandage (compression), while avoiding excessive compression in a sore spot. This will reduce the pain.
- A sore arm needs to be kept in an elevated state, for this you can put a pillow. Let us give some proven folk recipes for treating elbow bursitis. However, remember that any "unofficial" methods are good only in conjunction with doctor's prescriptions!
- Celery seed infusion. For this, 1 tbsp. l Seed brewed with a glass of boiling water. You need to insist it for 1.5 hours, and drink - twice a day.
- Cabbage leaf. Attached to the inside. This helps relieve swelling if there is no pus in the articular bag. Sheet change every 3-4 hours.
- Compress from squeezed before using beet juice, celery, cabbage or potatoes will also help relieve joint pain and swelling. Vegetables can be mixed, but it is better to alternate. Important! With purulent bursitis, warm and warming compresses are taboo!
- Compress from alcohol propolis tincture. You can buy it at the pharmacy. It is important to remember about the contraindications indicated above!
- Rubbing in lavender or eucalyptus aromatic oils. They are also suitable for therapeutic massage.
In conclusion, I would like to once again warn that the treatment of bursitis of the elbow joint at home is dangerous! Any conservative treatment in the case of an infectious origin of this disease is ineffective. To determine what form of bursitis you are facing, only a doctor can. Therefore, at the first signs of inflammation of the elbow joint, you should immediately go to the doctor.