Olecranon bursitis

Olecranon bursitis refers to inflammation of the olecranon bursa. The olecranon bursa is a subcutaneous sac that overlies the olecranon process and contains a small amount of fluid to prevent against injury of subcutaneous tissue and skin from the uncovered bony olecranon.



Bursitis can develop secondary to many causes:

Radiographic features

Plain film

Lateral radiograph of the elbow reveals soft tissue swelling superficial to the olecranon. Traumatic fracture or calcification in gout or CPPD may be evident.


May show a fluid collection in the olecranon bursa, features of synovial proliferation and/or hyperemia. A small proportion of patients may also show presence of an associated loose body or features of associated triceps tendonitis (+/- calcifications) 2.

  • fluid density at the subcutaneous tissue superficial to the elbow

Bursal fluid collection has the following features:

  • T1: hypointense
  • T2: mainly hyperintense
  • C+ (Gd): enhancement of bursal margins

Triceps brachii muscle and subcutaneous edema as well as elbow joint effusion may be seen.

Article information

rID: 29196
Section: Syndromes
Tag: refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Bursitis of olecranon bursa
  • Inflammation of olecranon bursa
  • Olecranon bursal inflammation

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Cases and figures

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