What's Really Causing Those Bumps On Your Elbows

If you've recently noticed bumps forming around your elbows, you may be wondering where they came from. While the culprit may simply be a minor rash, bumps can sometimes be a sign of a health condition. Diagnosing the cause of your bumps can help you get treatment.

When it comes to bumps on the skin, especially smaller ones, the cause could be a skin condition. Eczema, or atopic dermatitis, is a rash with small bumps that can occur on various parts of your skin – including your elbows (via Medical News Today). Another skin condition known as psoriasis can also cause bumps to emerge. Psoriasis causes chronic inflammation of the skin, typically appearing in white or pink scaly patches on areas like the elbows.

Another rash-like cause could be contact dermatitis, which is sparked by contact with cosmetics, dyes, detergents, industrial chemicals, metallic substances, or poison ivy or oak (via Healthgrades). It may also be worthwhile to investigate a possible food allergy or bug bite allergy.

Elbow bumps can be a sign of various health conditions

Larger bumps on your elbows can also be a sign of other health conditions not directly related to the skin. It is best to consult with a medical professional if you are experiencing any of these larger bumps.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that can cause swelling in your joints and firm bumps under your skin (via Medical News Today). For the older population, bumps can also be an indication of osteoarthritis, a condition that develops over time and causes joint swelling in areas such as the elbows. Another source of the bumps could be an autoimmune condition known as dermatitis herpetiformis, which causes itchy, red, fluid filled bumps on the elbows.

Many conditions will require time and rest as treatment. For example, olecranon bursitis causes redness and swelling at the tip of the elbow as a response to an infection or elbow injury. Additionally, lateral epicondylitis, or "tennis elbow", is another injury that also requires rest and the use of anti-inflammatories.

With some basic skincare tips, you can help keep your elbows happy and healthy. Moisturizing with unscented creams or ointments that are free of harsh chemicals is one way, as well as bathing your elbows in warm water to help keep skin from drying out.