Why You Cannot Read On Your Elbow For Too Long

By Samuel A. Olowolayemo

As a student, you probably rest on your elbow while reading, for a long period of time.  Sometimes, there is a numb feeling you have in your elbow. At other times, your elbow starts to pain you slightly. In some circumstances – most likely when you disregard the other pointers, and you rest on your elbow for too long – you may get the student’s Elbow. Well, this may sound like some nerdy, superpower thing or a reward for reading hard, but it’s not. 

Here is what it is: it’s an inflammation of the elbow. Student’s Elbow is the specific name for Olecranon bursitis — a medical condition for the inflammation of the bursa surrounding the elbow — when it’s due to resting the elbow on a hard surface for a  long period of time, common in students while studying. Before delving into what this entails, you should know a little bit about your elbow, don’t you think? 

What is the Elbow and how is it Shaped? 

Three bones make up your elbow. One of these bones – that extends to your elbow – is called the Ulna. Except you are from Krypton, or maybe you are a Martian, your Ulna has a part at the joint area called Olecranon. Between this part and your skin,  there is a small sac that contains fluid, and this sac is called the Olecranon bursa. When this sac gets swollen (that is inflamed), you get the Students’ elbow.  

Causes of Student’s Elbow 

You get olecranon bursitis when your elbow joint suffers mild to repeated trauma. For instance, if you frequently lean on your elbows, you can experience friction and intermittent mild injury. When the cause is obvious, bursitis may occasionally be given names. It is called “Student’s elbow” when it affects persons who study while leaning on their elbows on a desk. Plumbers, miners, and gardeners are also prone to this dysfunction. You could also get Olecranon bursitis if you are infected.  

How you would know if you have the Students Elbow  

The signs are usually obvious. The most common sign is, swelling at the elbow. In the early stages of inflammation, it may be painless. However, after consistently leaning on your elbow and moving it, you start to feel pain. Your Elbow also becomes very sensitive to stimuli. In extreme cases, your elbow could get filled with pus. 

What to do if you have Olecranon bursitis (Student’s Elbow) 

In many scenarios, the student’s elbow clears up on its own with basic self-care such as resting the elbow, using anti-inflammatory products, and applying ice/heat massage.  You can also make sure to rest your elbow to avoid pressuring your joints. You also do not need to go far, Anti-Infammatory drugs available over the counter will help you reduce the pain. If the situation is extreme, medical personnel may advise you to wear an elbow pad.  

Furthermore, you could get advised to take antibiotics, if the student’s elbow is due to infection. If after all these there are no changes in 2-3 weeks, you most likely know what to do; see the doctor for proper treatment.  

How you can prevent Student’s Elbow  

To prevent Student’s Elbow, avoid any activity or pressure on the elbow joint that can inflict pain. Do not lean your elbow on hard surfaces while studying. Wear your elbow pad for sports or activities that would require much pressure on the elbow.  So in conclusion, posture is important. Even seemingly harmless things like sleeping on your elbow can cause damage to your joints. As much as possible, you should read your books in postures that won’t cause you damage. After all, health, as they say, is wealth. 


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