Home Bones, Joints and Muscles Lump in elbow: causes and treatment

Lump in elbow: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

The elbow is a joint in the upper limb and joins the arm with the forearm. It is made up of bone, fluid, cartilage, and ligaments; these elements fulfill the function of keeping the joint in place when it moves.

The injury of any of them can generate the appearance of a lump in the elbow. These tend to vary in size and consistency according to the cause that gives rise to the bubble’s formation.

A lump in the elbow can cause functional limitation, accompanied by pain or deformity. Below you can read this article by FastlyHeal, where you will learn more about Lump in the elbow: causes and treatment.

Traumatic injuries

One of the most common causes of the appearance of a lump in the elbow due to blow. Traumatic injuries are caused by a simple impact that can create an abnormal bulge in the elbow, a sign that the elbow is inflamed.

This increase in elbow volume produced by a blow is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as pain and discoloration in response to the injury.

Traumatic injury treatment

It will be necessary to visit a specialist to review the injury caused by the blow and rule out other problems that accompany the lump in the elbow. In traumatic injuries, the specialist will look for a solution to calm the pain and mobility of the joint. It will be vital that you follow their instructions for correct recovery.

Tennis elbow

This is also one of the most common causes of an elbow injury, as it is conditioned by movements related to sports or professions that require excessive efforts of this joint.

Tennis elbow or epicondylitis occurs in people who continually use the joint with repetitive movements, such as tennis players.

The first warning symptom is pain and swelling in the elbow region, wildly when shaking hands or holding an object.

Tennis elbow treatment

In most cases, the injury known as tennis elbow improves independently and with the rest of the joint. It is recommended to go to the doctor if the pain in the elbow is intense since he will recommend the intake of analgesics and anti-inflammatories to alleviate the symptoms and combine them with rehabilitation therapies.

In severe cases of tennis elbow, you may need surgical treatment, especially if this injury continues for 6 or 12 months despite following non-surgical treatment.

Golfer’s elbow

This injury is similar to a tennis elbow but occurs outside the elbow. Its symptoms include:

  • Pain that can reach the forearm.
  • Increased sensitivity.
  • Tingling that can get the fingers of the hand.
  • Lump in the elbow.

Golfer’s elbow treatment

In this case, you should go to the doctor, and he will prescribe over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or naproxen to relieve the pain caused by the golfer’s elbow. They will also recommend treatments to strengthen the affected area, and an example of this is stretching exercises.

The immobilization of the arm will be of great help. With it, you will see excellent results. Rest and proper treatment will quickly return you to your routine.


It is a disease that occurs due to the accumulation of uric acid in the joints. This is also known as hyperuricemia. The collection of these urate crystals under the skin can be seen and touched. These are called tophi and are very painful to the touch and deform the joint, creating lumps.

Gout treatment

To treat this alteration, it is only required to lower uric acid levels in the blood. With this, it will be possible to dissolve the urate crystals. This way will reduce the lump or inflammation of the elbow and even of any other joint. To do this, you must control the intake of some foods such as red meat and sugary drinks.

If you want to know more about the foods that affect gout, we recommend Prohibited foods for uric acid and a Diet for gout.

The specialist doctor will indicate the appropriate pharmacological treatment based on colchicine to reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling.


Elbow abscesses are formed from an open wound or a cut that allows the entry of bacteria, fungi, or other agents capable of triggering an infectious process.

In general, this abscess is accompanied by symptoms such as:

  • Pus, which accumulates, creating a lump.
  • Pain.
  • Inflammation.
  • Heat in the area of ​​the bump.
  • Color change.
  • Drainage of pus to the outside.

When the case of abscess is severe, more symptoms could appear, such as:

  • General discomfort.
  • Fever.
  • Shaking chills.

Abscess treatment

A doctor should treat this injury that can generate a lump in the elbow through the indication of antibiotics, analgesics, and anti-inflammatories to eliminate the bacteria that cause the abscess and relieve pain, inflammation, and other symptoms that accompany it.


A lipoma is a benign lesion characterized by the growth of fat cells in any part of the body. It can appear as a lump on the elbow, specifically in the subcutaneous layer of the skin, and its growth is slow and painless, with a smooth and mobile consistency.

Depending on the size and location of the lipoma, it can cause pain or nerve compression. This lesion can extend to the surrounding tissues, causing functional limitation.

Lipoma treatment

Most of the time, lipomas are asymptomatic, so they do not require medical treatment. In rare cases, surgical removal will be necessary if they cause deformity or limitation.

Oleocranial bursitis

It is known as the dice thrower elbow or student’s elbow. Oleocranial bursitis can appear for different causes such as:

  • Trauma
  • A direct hit to the back of the elbow.
  • Continuous support on the elbows, like students.
  • Frequent rubbing on the superficial part of the elbow.
  • The emergence of a rheumatic disease.
  • Possible relationship with gout.
  • Possible infection.

This injury is characterized by the presence of a lump at the back of the elbow due to a synovial fluid leak that may or may not be painful.

Treatment of oleocranial bursitis

Treatment aims to treat inflammation and pain, decrease mobility, and improve functional disability. The specialist doctor does this with the prescription of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and the indication of physiotherapy through the application of cryotherapy and electrostimulation.


It occurs due to the breakdown of one or more bones that make up the elbow joint. This is caused by a fall and even trauma to the elbow, causing the appearance of:

  • Pain.
  • Lump in the elbow.
  • Inability to move the elbow.

Elbow fracture treatment

Treatment of an elbow fracture should be immediate. It would be best to go to the nearest health center, where immobilization of the fracture will be started using a splint or cast on the arm to keep the bones in place, thus reducing pain.

The intake of painkillers accompanies this to reduce pain, and you must rest.

When extremely serious, the fracture may require surgical resolution.

Infectious cellulitis

Infectious cellulitis can occur in the elbow region due to the passage of bacteria through the skin, infecting the deep layers, which can cause:

  • Inflammation.
  • Lump in the elbow.
  • The reddish color of the skin in the area where the cellulite is found.

It can be severe depending on the germ causing the infection, generating complications such as septicemia, a generalized condition of the body capable of exposing it to death.

Infectious cellulitis treatment

This pathology must be treated immediately, starting treatment with antibiotics such as clindamycin or cephalexin. According to the severity, the medications may be indicated orally or intravenously to eliminate the bacteria that cause this disease for 10 to 21 days.

To relieve it, analgesics or anti-inflammatories will be prescribed to alleviate pain and inflammation.

Tumor maligno

Finally, an increase in volume in the elbow can also be caused by cancer cells. The alteration can appear as a product of traumatic lesions with the proliferation of malignant cells.

Treatment of malignant tumor in the elbow

On this occasion, the treatment will be provided by the orthopedic surgeon and the oncologist surgeon to follow the anticancer therapy you need.

How to avoid the appearance of a lump in the elbow

To avoid the appearance of a lump in the elbow, we recommend following the following indications :

  • Avoid performing excessive repetitive movements.
  • Strengthen the muscles around the elbow joint before engaging in any physical activity.
  • Putting ice on your elbow after doing physical activity that causes discomfort.
  • Use correct posture when engaging in repetitive movement.

Finally, do not hesitate to go to the specialist doctor if you lump your elbow since he will be the one to give you the help you need in your specific situation.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Lump in the elbow: causes and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, joints, and muscles.

You may also like

Leave a Comment