What is Student’s Elbow?

What is Student’s Elbow?

Student’s elbow is not a condition that only affects students, in fact almost anyone can experience it.

Student’s elbow, or Olecranon Bursitis (sometimes also referred to as elbow bursitis) occurs when a small sack of tissue over the tip of your elbow becomes inflamed and swollen. The olecranon id the pointy bone at the end of the elbow. the small fluid filled sack that is found between the bone and skin is known as the bursa. The main function of the bursa is to reduce friction between the surfaces. Bursitis is the term that describes inflammation of the bursa.

Student’s elbow is typically caused by repetitive trauma to the olecranon that over time causes irritation and inflammation to the bursa. If you are a person that spends hours of the day working at a desk, the constant pressure on the tip of the elbow could be enough the cause the irritation.

Other causes of the condition can include blunt force trauma, such as falling directly onto the tip of the elbow. Infections or having bone spurs develop on the olecranon.


  • Swelling on the end of the elbow
  • Pain with leaning on the elbow
  • Painful elbow movement
  • Restricted elbow movement may occur
  • The elbow appearing red and being warm to the touch
  • A fever can also be present if the cause of student’s elbow is an infection.


In many cases the bursitis clears up on its own. With simple care such as resting the elbow, avoiding placing any pressure on it, and applying ice packs. Some patients find that a compression bandage on the elbow makes it more comfortable. As long as there is no infection the condition will then settle on its own.

Other treatments for this condition can include:

  • Anti-inflammatory medication and painkillers prescribed by your doctor to reduce the swelling, inflammation and pain.
  • Draining of the fluid by a healthcare profession and being advised to wear a tight pressure bandage, to help prevent any further build-up of the fluid.
  • A steroid injection may be used to reduce the inflammation, however this option does pose a risk of infecting the bursa.
  • Surgically removing the bursa may have to be done if the above options prove futile.
  • Antibiotics will be prescribed if the bursitis is caused by an infection.


Not every kind of bursitis is preventable, but you may be able to decrease the severity of the condition and lower the risk of future flare-ups. To do so avoid lifting heavy objects and try to reduce the amount of stress placed on the joint. Exercising and building muscle strength may also prevent an inflammation flare-up.

Osteopathy takes a holistic approach to treating musculoskeletal aliments. It can be used to diagnose, treat and prevent a multitude of MSK conditions. Osteopathy is a complimentary form of treatment that can be used alongside other forms of treatment such as physiotherapy and that which is given by your GP.

At OsteoVision, our practitioners are trained to treat a wide range of conditions. Please contact us if you would like to discuss your injury or symptoms , would like to book an appointment, or require more information about bursitis and elbow pain.

Call:     03303  904 300
Email:  info@osteovision.life
You can also book an appointment online at www.osteovision.life


Gotter, A., 2019. Elbow Bursitis: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention. [online] Healthline. Available at: <https://www.healthline.com/health/sports-injuries/elbow-bursitis#prevention> [Accessed 14 February 2022].

Harding, M., 2016. Student’s Elbow (Olecranon Bursitis). [online] Patient.info. Available at: <https://patient.info/bones-joints-muscles/olecranon-bursitis-students-elbow#nav-5> [Accessed 14 February 2022].

Holistic Bodyworks. 2020. Student’s Elbow – Common causes and treatment – Holistic Bodyworks. [online] Available at: <https://www.holisticbodyworks.com.au/students-elbow/> [Accessed 17 February 2022].