Medical opinion? Noisy, grinding elbow?

The doctor visit: “It’s not bone. They look fine. Possibly a thickened bursa that’s causing the noise.” And what he did not say, but I inferred, “And there’s not anything we can do about it.”

For a few months I’ve had a grinding, rubbing sound near my elbow. Not exactly at the point of the elbow, but close to it. Fearing that I might have some kind of arthritic situation that might need attention at some point, I went to the orthopedist. Xrays were negative on bone issues. So apparently it’s soft tissue of some kind.

I have, for many years, leaned on my left elbow while sitting at a computer terminal. But the point of pressure is not actually the point of the elbow, but the part of the forearm just up from it. I kinda wonder if maybe all those years of leaning on it has caused something like scar tissue to build up somewhere inside.

Since I noticed this, I don’t have 100% of the strength that I used to have in that arm—but it’s not seriously diminished, and I have no pain or issues with range of motion. With that, what I didn’t ask, and should have was, “So am I going to have a noisy elbow for the rest of my life, or might it get ‘better’ on its own?”

My first guess would be thickened bursa, too. Your doctor sounds like a pretty smart guy.

Nevermind. I see that you did see an orthopedic specialist.

I’ll read more carefully next time.

An idea on something to try that might help:

Emu oil is absorbed through the skin. Applying some to the affected area might lubricate what’s inside and diminish or eliminate the noise.

It’s funny that you mentioned that, the first thing I thought of when I saw the thread title was the stepmother’s suggestion from Cinderella. Unicorn Oil.

If it helps at all, I can relate. A couple of years ago, with no obvious cause, my left elbow started loudly “snapping” quite often when I straightened it after being bent.

I mean loud enough that I can be on a noisy train, and then my elbow snaps and everyone in the carriage looks up, wondering what the hell that was.

First time I went to a doctor, I think he probably thought me a hypochondriac because I couldn’t make it snap for him. The next time (and actually a different doctor) it did the noise and he agreed it was frickin’ loud and not just normal bone clicking…but basically there’s nothing to be done until it causes me pain or injury.