JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW
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Olecranon bursitis.

BACKGROUND: Bursitis is a common medical condition, and of all the bursae in the body, the olecranon bursa is one of the most frequently affected. Bursitis at this location can be acute or chronic in timing and septic or aseptic. Distinguishing between septic and aseptic bursitis can be difficult, and the current literature is not clear on the optimum length or route of antibiotic treatment for septic cases. The current literature was reviewed to clarify these points.

METHODS: The reported data for olecranon bursitis were compiled from the current literature.

RESULTS: The most common physical examination findings were tenderness (88% septic, 36% aseptic), erythema/cellulitis (83% septic, 27% aseptic), warmth (84% septic, 56% aseptic), report of trauma or evidence of a skin lesion (50% septic, 25% aseptic), and fever (38% septic, 0% aseptic). General laboratory data ranges were also summarized.

CONCLUSIONS: Distinguishing between septic and aseptic olecranon bursitis can be difficult because the physical and laboratory data overlap. Evidence for the optimum length and route of antibiotic treatment for septic cases also differs. In this review we have presented the current data of offending bacteria, frequency of key physical examination findings, ranges of reported laboratory data, and treatment practices so that clinicians might have a better guide for treatment.

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