elbow lump

How to treat an elbow lump

Fact Checked

An elbow lump is an abnormal protrusion or bump found within the elbow joint or on the surface of the elbow and can be caused by an injury or blow to the elbow. Elbow lumps are due to inflammation or swelling, poor healing of a broken bone, a skin growth such as a cyst or tumor. Tendinitis, bursitis, injuries from sports, sprains or strains, arthritis and infections within the joints can cause inflammation of the elbow.

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Lump on the elbow can be asymptomatic or sometimes produce typical symptoms and can be painful and hot. The elbow lump can be a hard or soft mass and can moved under the skin.

If the lump is due to an infection, the skin found over the lump pits, reddens and warm. It can burst and cause a serous or pustular discharge. Sometimes, the lump remains fine, not producing discomfort during movement of the elbow joint. An elbow lump that protrudes from the inside of the elbow can compromise elbow movement.

Elbow lump
A noisy and clicking sound can be heard in the joint

Muscular and skeletal symptoms of an elbow lump

  • Poor range of motion
  • Redness, warmth and swelling
  • Finger, hand, arm and shoulder pain
  • Deformity on the elbow
  • A noisy and clicking sound can be heard in the joint
  • Body aches, fever, and malaise or lethargy
  • A tingling or other unusual sensations that can be felt in the hands
  • Loss of strength
  • Skin discoloration like bruising

Symptoms of a severe condition

  • Severe bleeding
  • Paralysis
  • A sudden onset of elbow deformity
  • A sharp and sudden elbow pain


  • Elbow lump can cause by traumatic injury like a sharp blow to the elbow and this will result to a hematoma which is a collection of clotted blood.
  • A gynogenic skin infection on the elbow can develop into a lump and it is caused by the microorganism staphylococcus bacteria as it enters the skin through a scratch or abrasion.
  • Bursitis of the elbow can also cause a lump and usually develops on the posterior side of the elbow.
  • A sebaceous cyst which is non-cancerous lump is a slow growing mass and painless.
  • A lipoma that grows on the elbow which is benign tumor can develop into a lump which is soft to touch. It is fatty tissue and can enlarge and affects movement of the elbow.

Treatment and home remedies

  • If an elbow lump is due to an infection, use anti-inflammatory and antibiotics for infection, swelling and pain.
  • If the elbow lump is caused by injury, apply a cold compress over the affected area in order to help minimize the size of the lump. Apply a cold compress immediately after the injury since it helps shrink the blood vessels so that bleeding will be minimized.
  • If there is a sebaceous cyst, it remains small for a long period and usually painless. In case it is infected, it is vital to seek medical care.


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