Lump On Elbow: Causes, Treatment, and FAQs

Certain medical conditions can make people worry and stressed out especially if these conditions can seem like it is a serious one. While some may be serious, it can also be something quite common or minor. One such condition is a lump on the elbow.

woman with lump on elbow

Elbow Lump: A Brief Introduction

Certain medical conditions can make people worry and stressed out, especially if these conditions can seem like it is a serious one. While some may be serious, it can also be something quite common or minor. One such condition is a lump on the elbow. In this article, we look at the possible causes, treatments, and some FAQs for each possible cause. Read on to find out more!

Possible Causes of Lump on Elbow

Having a lump on the elbow can be an indicator of several things. Below are some of the possible causes of this medical condition:

1. Skin Infection caused by bacteria

After experiencing some abrasion, the skin can get penetrated by bacteria and result in an infection. It can appear like a pimple that is swollen that is color red and it can sometimes have some form of drainage or pus. This kind of condition can be treated through the use of topical antibiotics. Other forms of infections such as staph may need antibiotics that are prescription-based. Some healthcare professionals may also have to drain the accumulated fluid in the elbow of the patient.

2. Basal cell carcinoma

This medical condition is a form of cancer that is slow-growing. It can look like a bump that is colored either with a shade that is whitish or pinkish. Basal cell carcinoma may show up on different parts of the body which includes the elbow. This skin condition is commonly addressed via surgery. Other treatment options may be recommended depending on certain factors such as the patient’s medical history, location, and the size of the tumor.

3. Injuries to the bones

A dislocated or fractured bone, particularly in the parts of the elbow such as the ulna, radius, and humerus- can lead to the development of a lump. This lump will usually appear after the occurrence of the injury and can present with difficulty in elbow movement and pain. A fractured elbow will also require that it is immobilized using a splint and should be held steady using the said sling. Depending on the injury’s severity, a surgical procedure may be required. 

4. Dermatitis Herpetiformis

DH or dermatitis herpetiformis is a type of skin disease that is itchy and it is commonly accompanied by small bumps and blisters in clusters or groups. This condition is usually the result of gluten intolerance or sensitivity, a form of protein that can be obtained from grains and wheat. Some of the symptoms of DH or dermatitis herpetiformis, which also include elbow lumps, should go away once the diet is rid of any form of gluten. However, healing and recovery from this medical condition may take several months. The healthcare professional may also recommend some medication (such as dapsone) to have the symptoms suppressed and to have symptoms improved. 

5. Eczema

Atopic dermatitis, more commonly known as eczema, is a health condition that can have symptoms that can include bumps that are small and raised on the elbow, skin that is dry, skin that has a red color, and skin that is itchy. At present, no eczema cure is available, but some treatment options may be able to help stop the formation of new outbreaks and to soothe the itchy feeling.

6. Ganglion Cyst

These cysts are lumps of soft tissues that are benign. They are commonly located in the area around the wrist, but in rare instances, it may also show up or pop up in the elbow. While more than half of the said cysts will get better on their own without the need for any treatment, a majority of individuals will go for surgery to have it removed. 

7. Golfer’s elbow

Golfer’s elbow, also referred to as medial epicondylitis, is a form of injury that can happen when the tendons of the forearms are overused. Having this condition treated will commonly take half a year to twelve months. Some of the suggested treatment options include pain relievers that are over the counter, ensuring that the area is strengthened, ice, and rest. If these treatments are not effective, surgery may be recommended by the individual’s healthcare professional.

8. Gout

Gout is a type of arthritis that is classified as rheumatoid and can occur due to uric acid that accumulated in the joints of the patient. Gout mostly affects the feet but it can also lead to the development of lumps that are painful on the elbows. This medical condition is often addressed using NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Some examples include naproxen sodium and ibuprofen. Other NSAIDs that are considered prescription include colchicine, celecoxib, and indomethacin. People who experience this condition more than once a year are often given medicines to improve the removal of uric acid or to aid in the blocking of the production of uric acid. 

9. Lipoma

A benign Fatty tissue growth, a lipoma can develop on the elbows and may grow in size, which can have movement affected adversely. Lipoma usually won’t need any form of medical treatment. If the elbow lump is getting painful or getting larger, though, the doctor may use liposuction or surgery to have it removed.

10. Olecranon bursitis

A small fluid-filled sac, also known as a bursa, can help in the prevention of friction between the tissues and bones in the elbows. If this gets infected or injured, it can form a lump and get swollen. Other terms used to refer to Olecranon bursitis include the student’s elbow, Popeye elbow, liquid elbow. Elbow pump, and baker’s elbow. If the bursa lacks infection, there might be some antibiotics that can be prescribed. Once infection can no longer be removed or addressed or if the fluid returns in large quantities, the patient’s healthcare professional may recommend that the bursa be removed surgically.

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