Itchy & Non Itchy Bumps around Elbows: Causes, Treatments & Remedies 

What causes small itchy bumps on my elbows? Is it an allergic reaction to food, medications? Bumps on elbows can be common in they are considered a type of skin rashes. They can be caused by a bunch of reasons.

Identifying them

Dermatologists mostly refer to symptoms when identifying skin problems. The symptoms associated with bumpy skin rashes can vary. Common symptoms include

  • Swelling or tenderness
  • Skin colored bumps on elbows
  • Itchy elbows
  • Redness
  • Inflammation and pain

Sometimes additional symptoms may go unnoticed.

The bumps could also signify a skin rash. While some rashes may be itchy or very itchy others are not itchy. The appearance may vary form one person to another where some bumpy rash types are skin colored, red, or pinkish. Keep in mind that, itching without bumps sometimes is indicative of a rash. However, this depends on the causes.

Common causes

These are some of the common causes of bumps not on elbows only due to the fact that some are general skin conditions, thus may affect any part of the body.


Scabies is a common cause of itchy bumps on skin including the elbows. Scabies is caused by very tiny mites that burrows into top layer of human skin and inhabit. The females lay eggs there and multiply.

The common sign of scabies is signified by small skin bumps (rash) and itching especially at night. “The bumps can look like hives, tiny bites, knots under the skin, or pimples,” []. Itching can be intense depending on the degree of mite infestation. If itching is too much could result to sores.

The most common way in which the mites spread is direct contact of an infected person with another. If infestation occurs the mites can spread hence causing bumps all over the body.

For the scabies to be treated effectively, a dermatologist should diagnose it and then treat or refer you to a doctor for treatment.

Granuloma annulare

Granuloma annulare is a medical condition marked by small flesh-coloured plaques to red bumps that don’t itch. The bumps usually appear in circular-shaped rings which is a distinguishing characteristic of this condition.

Doctors or dermatologists do not understand the causes fully but it is thought to be closely linked to thyroid problems or diabetes. The plaques or patches are considered a rash on long-term. Thus, Granuloma annulare is chronic

This condition is common on young children but can occur at any age. This condition resolves on its own without treatment. However, if it persists experts can treat it using dermatological procedures like cryotherapy or steroidal medication.

Dermatitis Herpetiformis

This is a form of celiac disease characterized by intense itchy bumps and blisters associated with ingestion of gluten. When taken by gluten intolerant people, gluten “triggers an immune system response that deposits lgA antibodies under the top layer of skin.” [www.gluten.or]

Common sources of gluten include wheat, rye, and barley.

These bumps may turn red and develop into small blisters. Now, the elbows are one of the areas where pressure is exerted more often. This (exertion of pressure) together with scratching contributes to eruptions of the blisters.

Could it eczema on your elbows?

Eczema or dermatitis can affect any part of body but the scalp, around eyes, on hands, elbows and knees are the common parts.

One of the common types of eczema is atopic dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is usually familiarized by inflammation, red rash that cause severe itching. This is a long-term skin condition that usually results in permanent change in skin texture and colour.

Dermatologists attribute occurrence of eczema to genetics, internal body factors environmental trigger factors or a combination of these factors including, allergies, change in weather (cold/hot temperature), etc.

According to Healthgrades, contact dermatitis is a kind of skin inflammation in which results to an adverse reaction to a substance that comes into contact with any part of your skin. These substances include chemically manufactured detergents or the fragrance in soaps or body lotions.

People who have sensitive dry skin around the elbows are prone to contact dermatitis.

Eczema requires a proper diagnosis in order to find out the trigger causes. If not diagnosed earlier the condition becomes difficult to treat especially a flare-up in symptoms.

On proportion, eczema affects many more children than adults.

Other causes of raised bumps on elbows

The following are other possible causes of rashes raised spots or bumps whether they appear small or lumpy.

  1. Bites from animals, insects and other small creatures
  2. Long-term exposure to UVR rays
  3. Human viral infections such as hepatitis
  4. Injuries to elbow
  5. Allergic reactions to vaccines
  6. Shingles
  7. Sebaceous cysts
  8. Bursitis or bursa sac inflammation

If you have or occasionally get white or whitish small raised spots on your skin go for an evaluative diagnosis.

Are they pimples or acne?

May be you are wondering if it is possible that the elbow bumps are pimples. The chances are less likely they are pimples. However, if you ignore exfoliating skin around this area that also extends the back of upper arms, pimples won’t be a strange thing.

Beauty experts shed light and hint out that individuals with dry skin are more liable to developing pimples on the elbows or upper arms. In many situations, these pimples are not typical of acne since they are caused accumulation of dead skin cells. Even though, they could still be acne-related bumps.

Itchy red ones

What causes itchy bumps on elbows? Whether they are small, little, or tiny bumps itching can be a symptom of one or more of the cause factors we have looked at so far. These include irritant contact dermatitis such as poison ivy. Other causes are excessive UV rays, scabies, dermatitis herpetiforms, atopic dermatitis, hives and certain insect bites like mosquitoes.

These itchy bumps sometimes turn red or get inflamed Conditions like eczema (atopic dermatitis) are symptomatic of reddening due to skin inflammation. The skin on bumps tend to turn red after itching or scratching due to the fact that the skin is irritated. Inflammation can also be aggravated by an infection.

If not treated some skin infections like measles can be dangerous to your body like causing nerve damage. Seeking treatment when you suspect a skin problem is the right way to go. Don’t wait to experience a flare-up of symptoms.

Not itchy

While inflammatory skin conditions are likely to cause itching, cystic bumps and granuloma annulare are not associated with itching.

Do not ignore the bumps on your elbow and knees if they do not itch especially when the bumps cannot heal. Take the right action and see your dermatologist or talk to your personal doctor.

How to get rid elbow bumps

Consider the following before trying any treatment for bumps on your elbows.

  • What are the symptoms produced? Are the bumps itchy or not itchy?
  • Do they swell when triggered by scratching or skin irritation or when exposed to cold?
  • Whom do you want to treat – children or adults?
  • Is your skin condition or disease chronic or just short-term and seasonal?

Whereas symptoms accompanied should be a guiding factor, it is worth to note: treating skin conditions can be difficult if the causes are not identified well. More importantly, patients are encouraged to be diagnosed.

Avoiding triggers

Individuals with the gluten-resistance immune system should avoid taking the gluten sources of food. However, sometimes medication may be used but it times quite some time before the IgA deposits can be cleared.

IMPORTANT: Without a proper diagnosis of this disorder it would be hard to properly contain the eruptions even if you begin relying on a gluten-free diet.

Hydrocortisone creams

These creams belong to a category of medications used to relieve of itching. Over the counter, hydrocortisone creams can be applied for a specified period of time if itching is mild itching. When itching is horrible and unbearable, seek advice or see your doctor to give the right medicines.


Exfoliation of skin around this area with the joint should be very gentle. Exfoliation is quite effective for treatment of skin conditions that do not cause blistering or open wounds. However, we recommend you consult your personal doctor before attempting treating the bumps on elbows and knees or around joints.

Home remedies

Remedies prepared from natural ingredients and products can enhance healing and alleviate the conditions when symptoms associated are mild. Therefore these procedures are very helpful in moisturizing, soothing and relieving the skin of pain or inflammation.

They include applying apple cider vinegar, extra virgin oil, coconut oil, vitamin E oil, oatmeal and aloe Vera gel. These can form a great remedy pack, especially during winter and summer.

Are bumps around elbows preventable?

How can you prevent bumps on the elbows? You can prevent eczema from recurring if you discover those bumps are triggered by irritants, insects or allergen food sources. This largely calls for one’s self-protection, by avoiding or staying away from these sources. Vitality in pest control and insect pest control is also key to prevention.

Unfortunately, if it is an allergy you have developed or an autoimmune disease it may be almost impossible to prevent bumps from to appear on the elbows

Quoted Sources
  1. Small Raised Bumps on Elbows, Reyus Mammadli,
  2. Granuloma annulare
  3. Elbow Rash, Healthgrades Editorial Staff,
  4. Dermatitis Herpetiformis,,P00276/

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