An elbow lump is an abnormal protrusion or bump that happens within the elbow joint or on its surface. It can happen to anyone. An elbow lump can be due to a blow to the elbow or an injury. It can also result from inflammation or swelling, skin growth such as a cyst or tumor and poor healing of a broken bone. Inflammation can result from bursitis, tendinitis, and injuries from sports, strains, sprains, arthritis or joint infections.
An elbow lump causes pain, inflammation, reddening and warmth. It can be a hard or soft mass and can be moved under the skin. If the lump is caused by infection, the skin on the lump is pitted, red and hot and can burst. Sometimes, the lump remains delicate without causing any pain or discomfort when the joint is moved.
Symptoms of an elbow lump
- Reduced mobility or range of motion
- Redness, warmth or swelling of the affected area
- Deformity of the affected elbow
- Pain in the shoulder, arm, hand or finger
- Popping or clicking sound can heard when moving the joint
- Skin discoloration such as bruising
- Weakness or loss of strength
If serious symptoms such as severe bleeding, paralysis, sudden elbow pain and sudden onset of joint deformity are present, immediate medical attention is required.
- Bursitis which is the inflammation of the bursa sac that helps in cushioning the joints.
- Fracture or dislocation of the elbow or arm
- Fragments within the space of the joint
- Gout is a type of arthritis due to the accumulation of uric acid in the joints
- Overuse injury
- Healing process of a broken bone
- Tendinitis or inflammation of a tendon
- Formation of hematoma due to an injury or blow over the elbow
- Sebaceous cyst
- Take plenty of rest especially the affected elbow. Avoid performing activities that will cause inflammation of the bursa and avoid placing direct pressure on the area.
- Wear elbow pads to protect the elbow from further irritation and worsen the condition.
- Apply an ice pack on the affected elbow for at least 20 minutes at 2-3 times every day to lessen the swelling.
- Compress the affected area using an elastic bandage wrapped around the affected joint to lessen the swelling. Avoid wrapping it too tight to prevent problems with circulation.
- Elevate the affected elbow above the level of the heart to lessen the flow of blood in the area.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen to lessen the inflammation, swelling and pain.
- Seek the help of the physical therapist for some rehabilitation exercises that includes stretches or strengthening activities and restore the normal range of motion of the elbow and muscle tone.
The details posted on this page on an elbow lump is for learning purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage joint conditions, enroll in a first aid course with one of our training providers.