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My elbow bursitis is making my rheumatoid arthritis worse

I am a young 21 year old trying to get through college but having such a hard time foucusing with my RA. Around 2 months ago I went to go see the rheumatologist about my elbow pain, she gave me a higher dose prednisone plus some methotrexate though my elbow is still pretty big. After a month with a swollen elbow, my hands started to hurt a lot to, especially in the morning and now I can barely close them. I went to go see the the rheumatologist again though she just gave more prednisone after showing her my elbow is still swollen. I really want be able to straighten my elbow but I can’t. All I really want is the help to get my elbow bursitis treated though I don’t know where to go. I don’t want end up failing my classes because of my RA.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • StillFlaring
    2 years ago

    Hi Blockae, hope you are getting some relief. Looks like you’ve got some good advice already, but you might also ask your doctor about steroid injections into the joint. I see a separate pain management neuro for injections into my hips about every 3-4 months and hand(s) about every 6 months. Be sure and check out heat/cold compresses as well. Heat does great for me, cold not so much. Good luck!

  • Elizabeth Farchette
    2 years ago

    Hi blockae!

    I too get severe Bursitis, except mine is on my hips and knees. My Orthopedist and my Rheumatologist both after giving me cortisone shots to my hips and knees, told me to use an NSAID (Ibuprofen, aspirin or Aleve) to help with this. I have been using Aleve 2 x daily with an added ibuprofen mid day for about 2 weeks now, and I am seeing marked improvement! I can finally see my knees for the first time in months! Hope this works for you too!

  • Eebtool
    2 years ago

    I hope that the fact that you are young and a college student have NOT affected the plan of treatment that this rheumatologist has decided is $$ best for you.
    If you are not satisfied, get that 2nd opinion.

  • Michael Booth moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi blockae, thank you for sharing your story. In addition to the information Richard and Sneed have shared, I wanted to address your concern about college and RA. As a graduate student with RA, I know first hand the difficulties the disease can bring to studies. I am sorry to hear you are going through this.

    I encourage you to schedule an appointment with the campus disability services (also known as accessibility services) office as soon as possible. There you can meet with a counselor who can determine if you qualify for accommodations that will provide academic support. The accommodations I received were extensions on assignments, relaxed attendance policies, and additional break time to walk around and loosen up after long periods of sitting. The conditions to qualify include diseases of the immune system, and you do not need to be legally disabled to receive support. What is offered varies per student, program, and your individual situation so you will have to meet with a counselor to find out what options are available.

    I also teach, and encourage you to discuss filing an “incomplete” with your professors should failing classes be on the horizon. Depending on your school policy, an incomplete grade is generally assigned by a professor with a contract for completing the coursework a few months after the semester ends. Once you complete the required work, your grade will then be changed from “incomplete” to a standard letter grade, and your transcripts will appear as normal. This could offer you the necessary time to get your pain and symptoms under control and allow you to get good grades.

    I hope things work out for you. If you have any additional questions, please let us know. Best — Michael ( team member).

  • blockae author
    2 years ago

    Im having a huge flare that wont go away even if i take more prednisone. I dont know if i am able to call the doctor for help or have to wait for my next appointment

  • Richard Faust moderator
    2 years ago

    Sorry you are having these difficulties blockae. As Sneed, touched on, getting a second opinion is certainly your prerogative (full disclosure – my wife, Kelly Mack, wrote the article he linked to).

    Treatments for RA have expanded rapidly in recent years and this overview from our editorial team has links to specifics:

    This article, also from the editorial team, looks specifically at hand pain, swelling, and inflammation:

    You may also want to take a look at our Facebook page at where the community may be offer additional advice and support. Please keep us posted on how you are doing. Best, Richard ( Team)

  • Sneed
    2 years ago
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