Lump Shoulder: What Causes It?

A lump on shoulder may be caused by lipoma, cyst, muscle knot, large pimple, or warts. Check out what to do when you have one in this article.

lump on shoulder

Lump on Shoulder: Causes, Signs, and Remedies

One of the most used joints and muscles can be found in the shoulder. We use our upper bodies to carry things, to use our computers and gadgets, and use them to complete routine tasks such as eating and drinking. As such, finding out that you lump the shoulder can be quite worrisome for a lot of individuals. But can this lump on the shoulder be? What are its possible causes, signs, and remedies? In this article, we look at what causes this lump on the shoulder, its possible causes, and some possible remedies for the aforementioned condition. If you want to know more, read!

Shoulder Lumps: A General Overview

A lump on the shoulder refers to a mass, growth, or bump located in the area of the shoulder. Individuals may notice this lump as it can rub on the straps of bags or against worn clothing. These lumps, however, are not equal as some may just cause some mild discomfort, they can be painless, or they might even actually hurt. The lump can also physically look white, pink, or the same as the patient’s skin color. All of these characteristics will depend mostly on what may have caused the lump. 

While this medical condition can be caused by many different factors,  most shoulder lumps are commonly harmless. However, patients who may observe that a new lump has developed or becomes painful then they are advised to immediately see medical assistance from their healthcare professional. Emergency services may also be an option if an individual believes that he or she has suffered some form of injury. 

What Are The Possible Causes of Shoulder Lumps?

Shoulder lump causes can be the result of different factors that can determine the severity or type of the condition. To properly diagnose what kind of shoulder lump you have, symptoms may be used as a reference. Below are some of the possible causes of these lumps in the shoulder:


This is a fat tissue that has formed a lump beneath the skin. It is usually a noncancerous (benign) tumor of the soft tissues. Experts are still unsure as to why they develop. The said health condition is fairly common and around one in one thousand individuals are affected by these kinds of lumps.  These lipomas will often be observed in the armpits, neck, trunk, and shoulders of individuals. Lipomas are characterized as being lumps that are occasionally painful, commonly smaller than two (2) inches, it is movable, doughy, soft, and rubbery. The lipoma will usually not be painful but if it has blood vessels or if it gets pressed on a nerve, it can become painful.


The lump on the shoulder can also be a cyst or a tissue with a closed sac. Depending on the cyst type, it may contain fluids, pus, or air. These lumps that appear on the shoulder are commonly benign. There are various types of cysts and some of these can show up in the shoulder of the patients:

  • Epidermoid cyst- An epidermoid cyst, sometimes referred to as a sebaceous cyst, is a flesh-colored colored sac under the skin that is painless. It is filled with keratin, a protein that is yellowish and thick which can then accumulate on the bump. 
  • Paralabral cyst- This form of lump results in fluids in the joints and may occur around the joints of the shoulder. This cyst is usually painless but it can become painful if tears in the cartilage develop or if it gets pressed against nerves that are near it. 
  • Bone Cyst- This cyst is a pocket in the bone that becomes filled with fluid. It commonly is not painful but it can become large enough that it can result in a fractured bone. 


Shoulder lumps may also be caused by an abscess which is a lump underneath the skin that is filled with pus. abscesses are usually the result of an infection by bacteria. This kind of lump may seem like a big pimple. The possible symptoms of an abscess include warmth to the touch, pus in the middle, redness, pain, squishy but firm, and a round shape. Individuals may also experience chills and fevers since abscess is the result of an infection of bacteria.

Injury or Trauma

People who hurt their shoulder may result in a shoulder lump. Some causes of trauma or injury are:

  • Fracture- A fracture in the shoulder or a shoulder that is broken occurs when the shoulder bones experience a break. Some of the possible symptoms of this condition include a lump on the broken bone, swelling, and pain.
  • Separation- A shoulder that is separated happens once the collarbone and the ligaments and the blades of the shoulder get torn. The shoulder can get lowered which can then lead to the formation of a lump on the shoulder’s top portion
  • Muscle Contusion- This is essentially muscle fiber injury that can lead to a bluish discoloration and swelling. If blood gets accumulated in the tissues, a hematoma may then develop.

Muscle knot

This form of a lump is a cluster of fibers of the muscle that can become tense. It can happen once the tissue of the muscle starts contracting even once the individual starts to relax. Some symptoms may include swelling, hardness, being sensitive, and pain or aching. Knots in the muscle are commonly the result of overuse or inactivity. Therapeutic massages and exercising regularly can address these muscle knots.

A large wart or pimple

The lump on the shoulder may also be a big wart or pimple. It can either be cystic acne which are pus-filled bumps or nodular acne which are harder lumps.

Lump on the Shoulder: Causes and Treatment Options of 

Lumps can be caused by different factors such as shoulders that are fractured, rheumatoid nodule, cyst,  lipoma, abscess, pimple, wart, or even a muscle knot.

Some of the treatment options for lumps on the shoulder may include prescription medication,

lump on shoulder

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