Elbow bursitis, also called olecranon bursitis, can cause a swollen elbow in which fluid accumulates in a sac behind the elbow, indicates About.com. Trauma, infection, prolonged pressure on the elbow, and medical conditions such as gout and rheumatoid arthritis can cause elbow bursitis, states the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
The first symptom of elbow bursitis is often swelling at the back of the elbow, explains the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. As swelling progresses, the elbow becomes painful and difficult to move, but if an infection develops, the elbow reddens and becomes warm. Treatment methods include changes in activity, padding of the elbow and use of over-the-counter pain medications. If infection is present, a doctor may drain the fluid and prescribe antibiotics. If none of these treatments provide desired results, surgery is an option.