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Olecranon bursitis N055

Last amended 
18 April 2023

Current RMA Instruments

Reasonable Hypothesis SOP

63 of 2018

Balance of Probabilities SOP

64 of 2018

SOP bulletin information on new SOPs

SOP Bulletin 203

ICD Coding

  • ICD-9-CM Code: 726.33
  • ICD-10-AM Code: M70.2

Brief description

Olecranon bursitis covers inflammation / infection of the olecranon bursa at the tip of the elbow.  The olecranon bursa is a thin sac of fluid that helps the skin slide over the bone at that site.

Confirming the diagnosis

The diagnosis is made based on the history and findings on examination and can be made by a treating GP.

The relevant medical specialist is an orthopaedic surgeon.

Additional diagnoses that may be covered by SOP

  • Plumber's elbow
  • Student's elbow

Conditions that are excluded from SOP

  • Epicondylitis*
  • Gout* or pseudogout# of the elbow
  • Olecranon process fracture*
  • Rheumatoid nodule at olecranon* - rheumatoid arthritis SOP

* another SOP applies

# non-SOP condition

Clinical onset

The condition usually presents with pain and tenderness at the tip of the elbow.  

Clinical worsening

Bursitis associated with trauma or infection should resolve with appropriate conservative treatment. With other causes the condition can persist and become chronic. Surgical excision may be indicated in some cases.  Worsening would be assessed on clinical grounds (symptoms and findings on examination).