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Date of last update: 8/21/2017.

Forum Name: Rheumatology Topics

Question: swollen elbow

 clasmom - Sun Aug 08, 2004 8:32 pm

Last night I was sitting in a chair and for some reason felt my elbow. It felt as if it were bruised. About 2 minutes later it swelled to the size of a baseball. I went to the ER and the Dr there said it was bursitis. Today when I got up the swelling was down somewhat but the elbow is purple with a bruised area about 3 inches around the elbow with a section of darker purple to the left and another section of purple going about a third of the way down my arm. I didn't injure this elbow to my knowledge or over use it as it is my left elbow and I am right handed. My entire arm is numb and it is somewhat painful. Maybe a 3 on a scale of 1-10. I really don't think it is bursitis but don't have a clue as to what can be causing this. Any ideas?
 Dr. Yasser Mokhtar - Sun Aug 08, 2004 11:52 pm

User avatar Dear Clasmom,

A bruised part of the body, is usually caused by trauma to that part and more often than not, actually, people do not remember hurting themselves.

However, this can also be caused by bleeding into the joint space caused by bursitis if the inflammation was severe enough. Also, if you are taking a daily aspirin, sometimes this can happen if you have a severe inflammation also in the joint.

The numbness could be because the nerves going to the forearm pass around the elbow at varying distances and they will be irritated by the inflammation and/or the blood.

Please, be advised to see your doctor after this er visit.

Thank you very much for using our website and i hope that this information helped.

Yasser Mokhtar, M.D.
 JT - Sat Jan 07, 2006 10:48 pm

HI. I noticed this evening a golf ball size lump on the back of my left elbow. It actually feels like a water filled sac. I do not recall any immediate injury to the elbow, nor is there any pain. Just the swelling.
Any Ideas
 Dan1117 - Thu Feb 11, 2010 9:08 am

Last night I was jogging home around 6.30 (so it was dark) and I tripped over a trip wire some youths had planted. I fell to the ground grazing my knees and elbows, but i got strong pain in right elbow, as this took most of the fall. I came home, took some ibuprofen, and used ice. I had swelling come up on the elbow, and pain. I couldnt straighten or bend my arm fully.

This morning I woke up still with slight pain, but not as much as yesterday. I can bend and straighten a bit further than yesterday but still have pain. Also the swelling has gone down. I was wondering should i keep using the ice and taking the ibuprofen as gradually pain decreases and my elbow movement increases?


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