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Thread: Diving with elbow Bursitis?

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    Diving with elbow Bursitis?

    I woke up 3 days ago with a very painful elbow, which was diagnosed very promptly as infectious Bursitis (infection in the fluid sack that is on the end of the elbow). I was put immediately on a course of strong antibiotics and it is responding fairly well, but is still tender. Does anyone think that diving with this will cause any potential problems other than maybe a bit of pain when pulling on/off the wetsuit? (I flew into Bali yesterday and I'm now on the north east coast so I can't just ask a local doctor!).

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    Re: Diving with elbow Bursitis?

    I would be cautious, infection of the joints can be nasty and if not looked after properly can lead to joint damage. Did they prove that it is infectious (blood test or biopsy?) or is it by assumption only?
    I would probably stay dry, but i were to go I would stay shallow and take it very easy.

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    Re: Diving with elbow Bursitis?

    I had bursitis a few years ago on a trip to Truk - and had no problems diving. A well-known doctor checked it out and signed me off. However mine was not infectious.
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    Re: Diving with elbow Bursitis?

    Diving with bursitis from an infection vs. inflammation has different implications. I suggest you stay dry if it is due to an infection and keep a close eye on it. You said you are on oral antibiotics, but if things get worse, you may need to IV antibiotics and aspiration (drainage) of fluid from the bursa.

    If it is due to inflammation, then applying ice and taking anti-inflammatories such as Motrin/Advil (as long as you don't have a bleeding ulcer or any other contraindication) is the treatment of choice. Also, avoid direct pressure on the joint and keep it cushioned. Any idea how you got this (trauma, over-usage)?

    I don't see why you could not be diving with an inflammation. However, if a certain activitiy that caused the inflammation in the first place is reproduced, you are less likely to get any better. If the bursitis is not improving in the next week (and for it to fully heal may take a while) and it is an inflammatory response, another option is to have a steriod injection done under sterile conditions.

    Hope this helps and best wishes to a speedy recovery.

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    Re: Diving with elbow Bursitis?

    Have a sterile aspiration of the bursa done and have it send away for MC&S and polarised light microscopy. It might be worth the while to do a Full blood count and ESR. Most of the time it's not infectious but rather inflammation secondary to uric acid crystals(gout bursitis). For that you can dive after a course of anti- inflammatories.

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    Re: Diving with elbow Bursitis?

    Quote Originally Posted by RedSeaDiver  View Original Post
    Does anyone think that diving with this will cause any potential problems other than maybe a bit of pain when pulling on/off the wetsuit?
    No. It shouldn't cause any diving-related problems such as an increased risk of DCI. If you think you can manage any problems you might encounter underwater with the pain you get from using that arm, then go for it.

    Andy

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