Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dealing with Olecranon Bursitis

Olecranon Bursitis

I decided to write this post to help other people being diagnosed with this condition to have an idea of what to expect in the days following diagnosis and treatment. These are my personal experiences. Not everyone will have this extreme case which ended in surgery.

* Warning * Graffic yucky pics are contained herein, do not proceed if you are bothered by pics of inflammation, surgical insicions, stitches, bruises, dried blood and that sort of thing.  You have been warned. Proceed at your own risk.

What is it?
According to WebMD, Olecranon Bursitis aka Popeye Elbow  is inflamation of the Olecranon Bursa located at the back of the elbow.
It causes pain, inflamation and redness.
The doctor can usually just drain it with a needle but in my case there was an infection, antibiotics did nothing to it and I had to have surgery.

What does it look like?
Pic from OrthoInfo

Timeline in my particular case:

Mon. Sept 23. Onset of symptoms. Elbow started to hurt. 
Tues. sept 24. Elbow and surrounding area swollen, red, hot to the touch .
Went to see my family practitioner. She tried to drain it and did not get anything out so she put me on antibiotics and gave me a referral to an Orthopedic surgeon. I was running a low grade temperature.

Thurs. Sept. 26 Had consult with orthopedic surgeon who changed my antibiotic and said to come back in a week.

Sun. Sept 29. Redness and irritated skin spreading from the elbow outward. Tip of elbow very painful.

Tues. Oct 1.  Follow up visit with orthopedic surgeon. She said I needed surgery the next day.

Wed. Oct 2. Surgery day.
I had no idea what was under the bandage. Was told to keep it dry for at least 48 hrs and change the dressing as necessary after that. To keep the elbow elevated above heart level when resting and to ice it for 20 mins at a time.
My throat was sore from the breathing tube and there was a burning stinging sensation in the elbow.

Sunday Oct. 6.  

I took the bandage off, it looks nasty, the strips are to be left on for now. I have bruising going on.
The whole thing hurts. Specially when I bend the elbow in any which way.

Wed. Oct. 9. Follow up visit with orthopedic. She took the long stitch out, applied glue to the incision and put steri strips on to keep the incision closed.  I still have some bruising around the top part of the elbow that did not show up on this pic. There is soreness and stiffness as I try to use that arm. Some burning and stinging in the incision site from time to time.

Thurs. oct 17

Today was my first day back working out at the gym, did not do any weight lifting, just leg work(box jumps) and Burpees. 
The elbow feels a bit stiff and I find myself babying it because it stings around the incision site when I bend it. I felt some light pulsating pain inside it tonight but not too bad. 
The top strip fell off in the shower tonight. Yes I know, it looks ugly. 

The kid's band aids came in handy, I'm sporting a Donald Duck bandaid. Cool huh? :-D

Sat. Oct. 19th. Took the rest of the strips off. 

It is now Tuesday August 19th. I have had this post in draft mode for so many months because I wanted to show what the scar would look like. So I'm finally hitting the publish button.
I hope this post helps someone dealing with the same problem, at least to see what to expect.
Note, that area is very sensitive, it hurts a LOT every time I bump it and it is very uncomfortable when doing planks.