Bumps on Elbows: Pictures, Small, Itchy, Red, Painful Lumps, Not Itchy, Get Rid

What causes small, red itchy bumps on elbows? White lumps around elbows can be painful and not itchy at times depending on the underlying cause. Skin conditions like psoriasis can cause skin colored bumpy rash on the elbows. The post provides insightful information on the causes, symptoms and how to get rid of these elbow bumps.

Elbow bumps can be caused by a number of reason ranging from skin conditions to abscesses. Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, scabies rash or contact dermatitis among others are the common cause of either small red or white bumps on your elbows. Any chemical irritants such as soaps, lotions or cosmetics can trigger allergic reaction on the skin causing bumps on the elbows.

Elbow lumps tend to vary in size and color. While some might be large, others can be little or small. Depending on the underlying cause, lumps on the elbows can be white, red, itchy or not itchy. In the post, we have picture vividly describe the appearance of lumps on the elbow.

Bumps on elbows symptoms

Depending on the underlying causes, the symptoms of lumps on elbows can vary. However, here are some of the common symptoms: itchiness, redness and little bumps that are scaly or blistering. Skin condition can develop bump rash that are small itchy or not itchy at all. Read more on the symptoms of each underlying cause of lumps on elbows.

Bumps on elbow pictures

Your elbow like any other part of the skin and body is prone to bumps from quite a number of cause. While others may be mild others are severe causing irritation and uncomfortable feeling. Below here, we have inserted pictures to illustrate the appearance of bumps. This is to help you identify the symptoms and most effective way to treat the underlying cause.

Bumps on Elbow Picture
Bumps on Elbow Picture

What causes bumps on elbows?

There are numerous reason why your elbows have bumps. The elbows, just like any other part of the skin is prone to infections, scaling and dryness. The skin surface of the elbow is likely to get exposed to chemical irritants from soap, lotions or cosmetics. A rash on the elbow, elbow eczema, psoriasis or gluten intolerance can be the cause of either small, white or red bumps that are itchy or non-itchy. Below here are the possible causes:

1. Atopic eczema on elbows

Bumps on elbow can be due to a skin condition like eczema. This is an inflammation of the skin, dermatitis, characterized by an itchy, red, swollen and cracked skin. Also known as atopic dermatitis, it is a chronic skin disease that typically starts from childhood. As one gets older, the back of the knees and front of the elbows are the most common parts likely to be affected. Other parts that can be affected include:

  • Inside or outside of the elbows
  • hands,
  • scalp
  • neck
  • ankles
  • cheeks

The symptoms for atopic eczema usually have periods when they are less noticeable as well as they become more severe. Although the exact cause of atopic eczema is unknown, the cause is more related to people who get allergies. Eczema on skin can run in families and tend to develop alongside other conditions such as asthma and hay fever.

You are likely to increase the risk infections if you scratch bumps on elbows. You are at even at risk to develop atopic dermatitis on your elbows through:

  • genetics, if your family has a history of eczema
  • immune system dysfunction
  • a problem with skin permeability

Currently, there is no cure for atopic eczema. But the available treatment can help relieve symptoms and reducing the severity improving the condition over time. There are different treatments options to control symptoms such as itching, they include:

  • self-care measure such as resisting the persistent urge to scratch and avoiding triggers
  • use moisturizing treatments such as emollients on a daily basis especially if you’re having a terrible dry skin.
  • topical corticosteroids are affective to reduce bumps, swelling, rash, redness and itching.

2. Psoriasis elbow bumps

Another common cause of bumps on elbows is psoriasis. This uncomfortable skin condition typically affects the outsides of the elbows, the knees, scalp, arms, wrist and chest. Psoriasis on your skin can appear anywhere as raised bumps or rash. Some people are likely to feel itchiness, burning and stinging sensation. You are likely to have psoriasis if you have serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or depression.

The symptoms of psoriasis depends on the type of psoriasis you are suffering from. Some common symptoms include:

  • Patches of red, inflamed skin covered with loose shiny silvery like scales
  • Itchy, burning or stinging feeling
  • Pain and raises bumps that may bleed
  • Fingernail and toe problems, change of color of the nails and becoming pitted
  • Scalp problems. Scaly patches or crust may begin to form on your head

Psoriasis elbow bumps can be triggered by a number of factors. These triggers causing psoriasis may be active on one person and not affecting another. It is wise to find what causes your skin to flare up, this will help you manage your symptoms.

The following triggers may make your symptoms to worsen. They include:

  • Cold and dry weather
  • Stress levels. When suffering from psoriasis, you need to keep calm and relaxed. Anxiety can lead to more outbreaks.
  • Certain medicines. Drugs meant to treat high blood pressure and heart disease and malaria can trigger psoriasis.
  • They include strep throat and tonsillitis, can trigger a certain kind of psoriasis. HIV infection can also make the condition worse
  • Alcohol. Heavy drinking can cause the condition to be severe, worsening the symptoms. If you combine certain medications meant for psoriasis can have serious side effects.

Itchy little lumps on elbows

Itchy lumps on elbows can be uncomfortable to deal with it. A number of causes can be attributed to that. They include skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, dermatitis herpetiformis, contact dermatitis etc. here are some of the causes of an itchy bumps on elbows:

1. Dermatitis Herpetiformis

Itchy little bumps on elbows, causing a burning skin rash and blistering can be linked to dermatitis herpetiformis. It is a condition that you cannot live with. It is the common cause of itchy bumps that occurs on the elbows, knees, scalp, buttocks and back. The bumpy itchy rash indicates intolerance to gluten found in the diet. If you have this condition, you need to maintain a strict gluten-free diet.

Symptoms include:

  • Itching, burning or stinging feeling
  • Bumps that resembles pimples usually filled with clear fluid
  • A cluster of little itchy bumps and blisters on the elbows, knees, buttocks and back of the head

Although the bumps heal within a few days, a purple mark that can last for weeks is left behind on the skin. New bumps on elbows are likely to form as on heal. Other skin conditions like atopic dermatitis, scabies, psoriasis, or contact dermatitis can be associated with dermatitis herpetiformis.

2. Scabies rash

Scabies is a skin condition that is extremely itchy and can easily be passed from one person to another. It is caused by an infestation with parasites specifically the mite parasite. When the mites lives on the skin of the affected person, they tend to burrow under skin surface forming tunnels and bumpy rash that are intensively itchy. The symptoms of scabies are intense itching and red bumps on the skin of the elbows where the mites have burrowed.

Scabies Rash on Elbows
Scabies Rash on Elbows

The itching can get worse at night. You should resist the persistent urge to scratch since the rash may develop to sores. Burrows marks can be found anywhere on the skin. Most common areas include:

  • the folds of skin between fingers
  • palms of the hand
  • the wrists
  • the elbows
  • around nipples in women

3. Poison Ivy/oak

Itchy bumps on the elbows can be due to poison ivy: a toxic plant that cause an itchy and at times painful rash when you touch it. The oil in the plant causes irritation on the skin in contact with the oil. This reaction results in itchy, red rash bump or blisters. The inflammation on the skin is a response to the body’s immune system to the plant.

Itchy Bumps on Elbow from Poison Ivy plant
Itchy Bumps on Elbow from Poison Ivy plant

According to Dr. Seemai Desai, dermatologist and medical director at Innovative Dermatology in Plano, Texas, if you have a rash, you shouldn’t scratch, it will only spread the rash. Lumps on elbows from poison ivy ranges from mild to severe and usually last for days up to a week. Rarely does it lead to hospitalization.

Treatment involves washing the affected skin of the elbow thoroughly with soap and warm water.

4. Olecranon bursitis

This is a condition characterized by pain, redness and swelling around the olecranon, caused by inflammation of the elbow’s bursa – [Wikipedia]. Bursae is a slippery thin sac found throughout the body acting as cushions between the bones and soft tissues. If the olecranon bursa on the elbow is inflamed or irritated, a bump will develop resembling Popeye.

5. Insect bites

A number of insects are known to sting or bite. The bites of common insects like mosquitoes, mites and fleas are very itchy and uncomfortable. They are usually harmless. However, some bites and stings like fire ants, wasps, hornet and bees may cause severe pain. The bites or stings can cause allergic reaction causing intense itch resulting to bumps on your elbows. Poisonous bites such as spider bites need immediate medical attention otherwise can lead to death.

Bumps on elbows not itchy

Depending on the underlying cause, not all elbow lumps get itchy, irritating or burning. A number of mild causes can be related to bumps on your elbow not necessarily being itchy at all. It may be physical trauma like injuries, sun exposures, vaccination or viral infections. Non-itchy lumps on elbow may not necessarily need treatment. However, if you have other symptoms causing you discomfort, you should consult your doctor.

Small red bumps on elbows

A number of conditions and environmental factors can be the reason for tiny or small bumps on your elbows. Small bumps on your elbows can be caused by skin parasites such as scabies bites, eczema or poison ivy. If your immune system is weakened or compromised, such that the skin cells fail to slough off as they should, small red bumps are likely to form on the elbows. Many people who suffer from psoriasis can develop red bumps on their elbows. Winter or stress can influence the condition.

Dermatitis, including eczema is one of the common skin condition that can cause small red bumps on the elbows. These bumps can be unbearable and itchy. You should resist the urge to scratch these small red bumps. Scratching can lead to an infection putting you at risk of spreading the condition to other parts of the body.

If the red bumps are associated with other symptoms such as bleeding or discharge, see your doctor immediately.

White bumps around elbow

What are white bumps on elbows? White bumps on the elbows can be caused by variety of skin conditions such as eczema, contact dermatitis, psoriasis and generally dry skin. Allergic reaction to medications and food can cause white bumps on your elbows too. Other than white lumps on your elbows, you may experience other symptoms.

This however, depends on the underlying condition. Eczema and psoriasis are skin conditions that present itchy bumps that may have white patches.  The bumps arising from the mentioned skin conditions can cause intense itching. The itch can be so severe that if you scratch, the skin bleeds.  You are at greater risk of skin infection or inflammation. Treatment for these bumps depends entirely on the underlying cause.

Painful lump on elbow

In children and adults the painful lump n elbow could be caused by one the following:


A boil is a red painful lump that can appear anywhere on your body. Boil however are likely to develop on sites of an infected hair follicle. These are the area with a likely combination of hair, sweat and friction. With time, the bump will get filled with pus causing it to become larger and painful.

Most boil will burst and heal on their own with little or no medical intervention. However you need to visit your doctor if the; the boils start to appear on face, nose or spine, the boil begins to get bigger or it fails to heal within a week or two.


Just like boils, an abscess is an accumulation of pass that can appear anywhere on skin. These bumps appear as swollen, pus-filled painful lump under the skin. The bumps will be accompanied with other symptoms of an infection such as fever e and chills.

Abscesses are caused by bacterial infection. A small abscess on elbow may drain naturally or simply shrink, dry up and disappear without treatment. Larger abscess will need to be treated with antibiotics to clear the infection. A syringe may also be used to drain out the pus in an abscess.

Olecranon bursitis 

Olecranon bursitis is the swelling and inflammation of the bursa (a fluid-filled sac that forms under the skin). Bursa acts like a cushion between the tendons and the bones. The condition commonly occurs on the shoulder, elbow and knees.

Common symptoms of the condition will include pain, swelling and tenderness in the affected area. The inflammation and swelling can occur through injury or repetitive movements. Most of these cases can be treated at homme by resting the affected area with an ice pack, this will help reduce the inflammation. In cases of severe pain, OTC painkiller can be used.

Dermatitis herpetiformis

DH is a type of skin condition common to people with an autoimmune response to gluten. It causes an itchy rash that has painful blisters that burst when scratched. The condition is common on elbows, knees and buttocks but can appear anywhere in the body.

According to statistics, it is estimated that 1 in every 5 people with celiac disease will develop DH. The exact cause is unknown but like celiac disease it is associated with gluten. Avoiding gluten foods like wheat and barley can help prevent the outbreak.

Skin colored bumps on elbows

Elbows bumps can either be red or white depending on what is causing them. Below we have provided some of the possible causes of skin colored bumps on elbows.

Contact dermatitis on elbows

This is an allergy triggered by contact with substance that comes in contact with your skin. With treatment the symptoms like itching, inflammation, burning sensation and pain are expected to improve. For some people the symptoms will clear on their own without treatment.

Atopic dermatitis or eczema

Like contact dermatitis, atopic dermatitis is the most common form of eczema. It is a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked. The condition is common in children, but can also develop for the first time in adults. This is a chronic condition, but can improve significantly with   time.

Dry skin

Dry skin which refers to the lack of natural skin oils can also result in colored skin bumps n elbow. You can improve these condition by avoiding steamy showers and harsh soaps. Skin emollients and mild petroleum jelly might also help keep your skin soft and oily.


This is a skin condition known to cause red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales. The patches are common on elbows but can appear anywhere on the skin. There is no treatment available for psoriasis but a wide range of treatment will help improve the symptoms and appearance of the skin.


This is a contagious skin condition caused by tiny mites that burrow in the skin. Common symptom among those with scabies is an intense itching that worsens at night. An itchy skin rash will also appear on the areas the mites have burrowed.


This is a common and very highly contagious skin infection known to cause painful sores and painful blisters. The condition is not usually serious and often improves within a week of treatment or within a few weeks without treatment.

How to get rid of bumps on elbows – home remedies

With mild cases of lumps on elbow, the symptoms can be managed and improved at home. There exists a large array of natural home remedies that can help you relieve and soothe skin. If the symptoms fail to clear, seek medical attention.  Some of the commonly used readies will include the following:

a) Rubbing the elbow with aloe Vera gel

Aloe Vera is believed to contain strong antiseptic, antibacterial, ant-itching and anti-inflammatory properties. When the gel is applied on an infected lump such as boils and abscess, it will help prevent further infection and speed up the healing process of the ruptured bumps.

b) Apply a baking soda paste

When applied on an infected boils or abscess, baking soda paste is believed to have the potential to suck the bacteria out of the bumps and out of the skin. Baking soda thus help inn relieving pain and soothing the skin.

c) Apple cider vinegar

The antiseptic, anti-itching and anti-inflammatory qualities of apple cider vinegar makes it among the most sort after remedies for skin infections. When applied on an itchy rash on skin, it will help relieve the itching, reduce the inflammation and soothe the skin.

Use a cotton swab to apply the solution ion the infected area twice a day for a week for optimal result.

d) A paste of cinnamon and honey

A mixture of honey and cinnamon will contain antimicrobial and antibiotic qualities. These qualities are what you need to relieve the skin of bacterial infection. The paste will also help relieve itching, inflammation and the constant urge to scratch.

e) Exfoliate

Natural sugar can help in scrubbing off dead skin on knee and elbows. A perfect remedy for exfoliation will include 3 part nature sugar, 1 part milk powder and 2 part honey. Gently mix the ingredients and use the resulting mixture to scrub of the bumps.

f) Apply skin moisturizers

Skin moisturizers like petroleum jelly can also help keep the skin oil and prevent these bumps. Avoid seamy shower and overexposure to direct sunlight. If you have to be in the in, then apply sun screen before going out.

How to Get rid of Bumps on Elbows – Video

 Sources and references