Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I have synovitis?"
My elbow is really swollen and it is the arm that I use when I throw playing softball and baseball. Is this synovitis? The swelling goes up and down but always seems like it is there.
There are several possibilities here, however if this is the arm that you mostly use when you are playing sports and you have noticed an association between your physical activity and the development of the swelling and pain, then the most likely diagnosis is tendonitis. Tendonitis in the elbow is very common and it is usually an over use injury, typically from vigorous physical activity. If the pain and swelling is most on the outside edge of the elbow, this is called tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis. If the pain and swelling is mostly on the inside edge of the elbow, this is called golf elbow, or medial epicondylitis. Regardless, both types are treated the same, with rest, ice, and anti inflammatory medications like ibuprofen or naproxen. Another common condition in the elbow is olecranon bursitis, which is an inflammation in the bursa, or fluid filled sac, that surrounds and cushions the elbow joint. I suggest that you go to see your primary care doctor who will be able to help you determine which of these conditions you have. Based on this, they will also be able to give you some recommendations for appropriate treatment.
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