Fluid On The Elbow Causes: Treatment For Fluid Buildup On Elbow

Accumulation of fluid in the elbow is attributed to elbow bursitis also referred to as olecranon bursitis. The elbow is surrounded by a bursa which is a sac like tissue which allows smooth movement of the elbow joint around the various bony prominences in the region.

Edema or collection of fluid in the inflamed bursa of the elbow results in pain and swelling around the elbow joint. The inflammation most often is associated with limited mobility of the elbow joint and can be identified in a plain X ray of the elbow joint.

Symptoms Of Fluid On Elbow

The various signs and symptoms associated with fluid in the elbow include,

  • Fever which is often associated with chills and sweat, primarily when coupled with a systemic infection
  • Redness and edema around the posterior part of the elbow
  • Cuts on the skin around the swollen area
  • Limited movement at the elbow joint is associated with severe edema and pain

Causes Of Fluid Buildup On Elbow

Accumulation of fluid in the elbow is attributed to bursitis, which is associated with inflammation of the sac meant to provide smooth functioning of the bony prominences around the below.

The condition is often associated with pain.  Often, the inflammation may result in infection and is commonly associated with systemic conditions like gout and rheumatoid arthritis.

The most common cause of elbow bursitis is a result of traumatic accident such as fall on the back or on the elbow. Often over strain of the elbow joint especially among athletes like tennis players and golfers, is also associated with fluid accumulation and pain in the elbow.

Often resting the hand on hard surfaces may further result in aggravation of the symptoms associated with fluid in the elbow.

Treatment For Fluid On The Elbow

The treatment of the condition would depend upon the underlying cause of the inflammation and the severity of symptoms. The treatments include,

  • Draining is often considered as the first line of treatment for the swollen elbow joint. This procedure is conducted as a day care procedure which involves aspiration of the fluid in the bursa. Often the fluid is send for microbiological examination to understand whether the fluid is infected or not
  • Cortisone Injections are also recommended in patients with severe pain, especially to suppress the inflammatory response. Cortisone injections are given only after the fluid is drained and aimed at reducing the severity of the symptoms
  • Rest along with use of Anti inflammatory medications is often used for treating the condition. This option is often recommended especially during the initial stages of the condition.
  • Homeopathic remedies like Bryonia Alba have also been effective in reducing inflammation. Bryonia is effective in absorbing the fluid that is accumulated in the joint and thereby improves joint movement.
  • Home Remedies like Turmeric and Garlic are also very effective as they are having natural antiseptic effect. Local application is more effective, especially when accompanied with bruise and local cuts.


  1. George Ogamba said:

    In case of English springer spaniel dog, if the dog happens to have this condition, what is the line of treatment? Also please what is Bryonia Alba; can you throw some light on it.

    January 17, 2013
    • PUP said:

      For the cure of your dog, you should consult a veterinary doctor. As for Bryonia alba, it is a homeopathic medicine. It is used in humans for various diseases. I do not know if this medicine can be used for animals.

      January 17, 2013

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