Students elbow is a condition which involves the inflammation of the elbow joint in which a tissue called bursae is involved. The condition is called Olecranon bursitis. It is also called elbow bursitis, elbow bump, bakers elbow, swellbow, liquid elbow, popeye’s elbow, etc. It is a more common condition than people realize. It has become more prevalent due to the increasing desk jobs.
It may occur due to various causes like injury to the elbow. Maybe you hit your elbow on a wall and it got swollen up. It can occur due to constant pressures on the elbow. This can be seen in a student repeatedly leaning on elbows on the desk. People with computer jobs also tend to lean on elbows frequently leading to elbow pain.
It may also occur due to infections of bursae. It may also occur in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
It may also occur due to playing sports like tennis, baseball, cricket, weightlifting, javelin throw, golf, etc, which involves a repetitive movement and pressure on the elbow.
It involves swelling in the elbow. If infection is present, redness can be observed and skin may become warm. A soft swelling may also be observed on the back of the elbow.
The condition can be painless or mildly painful. It may hurt while bending elbows or leaning elbows on the desk. The swelling is mostly soft to touch. There may also be fluid or pus in the swollen bursae.
Treatment for Student's Elbow
Cold therapy can be used to ease pain and reduce swelling. Aggravating activity, that is, the sport or leaning habit of elbows on desk must be rested for a while.
A compression bandage can be used to reduce swelling and control elbow movement. Pain killer tablet can be taken for very high pain or pain killer gel can be applied.
In the cases where these treatments do not work, the infected fluid is drained by the general medical practitioner. Antibiotics are also prescribed. Anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed.
How to Prevent Student's Elbow
Use elbow padding to avoid strains on the elbow. For desk jobs, a soft pad or even a folded napkin can be comfortably placed below elbows.
For sports, proper strengthening of arms must be performed. Do the warm up and cool down activities without fail. Wear protective gear to avoid trauma.
Physiotherapy for Student's Elbow
Wrist flexor stretch– Hold your arm straight in front of you with your palm facing down. Using your other hand, grasp your fingers and stretch your hand backwards in such a way that your fingers point upwards. You can hold this for 5-10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
Physiotherapy for Student's Elbow
Wrist extensor stretch– Hold your arm straight in front of you with your palm facing down. Using your other hand, grasp your fingers and stretch your hand downwards in such a way that your fingers point downwards. You can hold this for 5-10 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
Elbow movements– Try to comfortably move your arm from the elbow joint. You can support the arm by holding the wrist from the other hand. Try to complete the elbow range of motion.
Weight training for strength– Try this exercise after most recovery. Hold a weight comfortably in hand. Straighten your arm in front and steadily fold and straighten your elbow. You can repeat 5-10 times.
Ultrasound– Ultrasound therapy has proven to be very helpful in olecranon bursitis cases.