Olecranon bursa

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 2 Aug 2021

The olecranon bursa (plural: bursae) is a bursa located in the subcutaneous tissue that overlies the olecranon process of the proximal ulna. The floor of the bursa lies on the triceps brachii tendon and olecranon, while the roof is in contact with the overlying subcutaneous tissue 1. It is a thin-walled sac lined with synovium that under normal circumstances contains only a very small amount of fluid 2


This bursa develops between the age of 7 to 10 1,3 and its function is to create a frictionless motion between the triceps brachii tendon and olecranon process deep to the bursa and the soft tissue superficial to it during elbow motion.

Related pathology

In response to direct trauma, infection, repetitive insult or inflammatory disorders (e.g. gout, rheumatoid arthritis, pseudogout) the bursa can become inflamed causing olecranon bursitis.

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