Why do cars have bumpers on them? We all know it is to keep the main part of the car from harm. Between the skin and our elbow bone our bodies have "bumpers" that allow help prevent injuries to the elbow joint. The bumper is known as the bursa, small sacs of fluid that reside between the skin and the bone to allow easy, pain-free movement.
You may have noticed that when you rest your elbow on the table for too long of a time period it starts to hurt and may sport a reddish tint. This is your bursa telling you to lay off the elbows for a while. If you were to continue to rest weight on the elbows, they would inflame, and hurt. When irritated, it is a good idea to stop the activity that is causing the pain, take an anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil, put ice on the elbow, and elevate to reduce blood flow. If the elbow hurts a lot of the time, you should have a doctor look at them. He or she may be able to drain the bursa or inject corticoseroid into the arm to relieve pain. In some cases, the bursa may need to be removed.