Rash on Elbow, Symptoms, Eczema, Red, Itchy, Bumpy Rash, Causes & Treatment

An itchy, red and bumpy rash on elbow is a quite difficult condition to live with. The rash likely indicates a number of serious underlying medical conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or celiac disease. It could be gluten intolerance, which may be linked to a more complicated health problem such as celiac disease. In the post, we cover in length the symptoms, causes and how to cure elbow rash.

Rash is a symptom that causes the affected skin to become red, itchy, burning, stinging and swollen. A rash can cause bumpy spots filled with pus, scaly or flaky. Rash on elbow can arise due to variety of causes.

Outer Elbow Rash Picture

Outer Elbow Rash Picture

What does rash on elbows mean,

What does it mean to have a rash on elbow? Having a rash on the skin is a sign and symptom of an underlying medical condition. It could range from mild causes to more complicated health problems that need urgent medical attention. The rash can be itchy and occur in more than one place including on the elbows, knees, scalp, back and buttocks. This could likely indicate gluten intolerance to some people, indicating an underlying condition such as celiac disease.

Rash on the skin on inside of elbows can also be linked to skin related conditions such as psoriasis, contact dermatitis, atopic eczema, allergies, impetigo or hives. Finding out the underlying cause can help treat the rash.

Rash on elbows pictures

Rashes are associated with skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and impetigo. These conditions can cause eruption with scaly white spots and inflammation on the elbows. To help you understand how elbow rash look like, we have inserted images, pictures and photos. This is aimed to provide better understanding and help you identify the symptoms.

Rash on Elbow Image

Rash on Elbow Image

Elbow rash symptoms

What are the symptoms of elbow rash? The signs and symptoms of rash on your elbows varies depending on the underlying cause. Below here are the likely symptoms of rash on elbow:

  • Itchiness, stinging or burning feeling
  • Redness patches of skin
  • Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
  • Scale formation
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Bumpy spots or rash
  • Pus or discharge

Other symptoms that may be accompanies with elbow rash include:

  • Cough, fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Joint stiffness and pain
  • Sore throat, sweating

Some symptoms can be life-threatening. You should visit your healthcare provider for evaluation. Such symptoms include:

  • Sudden swelling of the face, lips and tongue
  • Feeling a tight throat
  • Breathing difficulties, shortness of breath
  • Joint pain
  • Fever and chills
  • Passing out, unresponsiveness

What causes elbow rash?

Rash inside one or both elbows may have many possible causes, including allergic reactions, infections, skin conditions such as eczema or other causes such as stress. Below here are the possible underlying causes:

1. Contact dermatitis

This rash occurs on the elbows when it comes into contact with substances that either irritate the skin or cause an allergic reaction. The affected skin ends up turning red, inflamed, blistering, dry, thickened or cracked. Common allergens include:

  • Cosmetics, dyes or detergents
  • Poison ivy or oak
  • Soaps
  • Essentials oils
  • Chemicals found in latex, rubber
  • Metallic substances such as copper

The rash on elbow may burn, sting, irritate or itch. You’re likely to develop blisters on the affected skin. Contact dermatitis can be effectively managed with treatment to relive the symptoms. Usually over- the- counter drugs are effective to reduce the irritation, burning or itchiness.

2. Autoimmune disorders

Rash on elbow can also be caused by various autoimmune disorders such as:

  • Kawasaki disease: although rare, it is a condition that causes inflammation in the blood vessels especially in children.
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Vitiligo

Find the underlying autoimmune disorder to treat the rash on your skin including the elbows and knees.

3. Atopic dermatitis, eczema

Rash on inner elbows can be related to skin condition like atopic dermatitis also known as eczema. This is a chronic skin condition that causes the affected skin of the elbow to become red, itchy, dry, scaly or cracked. The exact cause of eczema is unknown. However, it is likely related to irritants, allergens, immune system dysfunction.

Eczema tends to develop in the creases of your skin including the fronts of your elbows, knees ankles and around your eyes or neck. Other symptoms of eczema on elbows include:

  • Small, raised bumpy rashes which may leak fluid
  • Swollen skin from scratching
  • Thickened, cracked or dry skin

Atopic eczema on elbow can worsen if you have staphylococcus bacteria on the skin. The staph bacteria may cause the skin to break making the symptoms to worsen.

Treatment and drugs for eczema

Elbow rash due to eczema can be persistent. You may be required to try various treatments and drugs to control and treat the symptoms of atopic dermatitis on your elbow. Below here are the medications:

  • Creams to reduce itching and inflammation. Your healthcare provider may prescribe a corticosteroid cream or ointment. Consult your doctor before using any topical creams. Excessive use of these creams can cause severe skin irritation or discoloration, infections and thinning of the skin.
  • Oral anti-itch drugs. A severe itchy rash can be relieved with oral antihistamines such diphenhydramine. This is helpful in the night to allow you sleep.
  • Oral or injectable drugs to control inflammation. A severe case of inflammation can be controlled with oral corticosteroid drugs such as prednisone.
  • Antibiotic drugs to fight infection. Atopic eczema caused by infection (bacterial) can be treated with antibiotics.

You can also treat eczema on your elbow with home remedies. To help reduce itching and inflammation, try these home remedies:

  • Bleach bath. This will help decreases bacteria on the skin reducing infections. Take a diluted bleach bath. Add about ½ cup of bleach (not concentrated) to a 40- gallon of bathtub of warm water. Soak the affected ankle skin for about 5 minutes. Do this twice or thrice weekly.
  • Moisturize your skin at least thrice daily. You can use oil or lubricating cream on the affected skin including the elbow, neck, arms or legs.
  • Avoid scratching. Resist the urge to scratch your affected elbows. It will further irritates the affected elbows, you risk getting infections.
  • Use mild soaps or perfumes. Chose mild soaps and perfumes to stop allergic reaction or contact dermatitis.

4. Psoriasis

A rash on outer and inner elbow may be a symptom of psoriasis. This is a common skin condition that tend to change the life cycle of skin cells causing these cells to build up rapidly on the affected skin surface. The surface will from extra thick skin appearing as silvery scales. Other symptoms include itchiness, dry, red patches and which can be painful at times.

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition appearing on the elbows, knees, scalp and lower back. You may have psoriasis anywhere on your body. Elbow rash as a result of psoriasis can be triggered by stress, obesity, smoking or infections. Treating psoriasis involves stopping the skin cells from growing quickly reducing inflammation. You can remove the scales on the elbow and make the skin smooth. Here are the possible treatment:

Topical corticosteroids. These are powerful anti-inflammatory drugs for treating mild psoriasis. Severe skin condition can be treated with a combination of oral drugs and creams.

5. Hives or urticaria

The rash on your elbow can be due to hives or urticaria. Skin hives are an outbreak of red bumps on the skin. The affected skin can become swollen and itchy at times. Some people end up having a burning sensation. Skin hives are caused by allergens resulting to allergic reaction. Hives can include bug bites or stings, fish, nuts, eggs or food additives. Medicine reaction causing allergic reaction and hives include ibuprofen or anti-inflammatory medications.

Symptoms of hives on elbows include:

  • red bumps
  • swollen skin
  • itchy rash, burning or prickly sensation

6. Dermatitis Herpetiformis

An itchy, burning rash on elbow is a difficult condition to live with. The rash on the elbows, knees, back, scalp and buttocks likely indicate gluten intolerance. DH also known as gluten rash may be related to serious underlying condition known as celiac disease. DH occurs in people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder characterized by intolerance to gluten.

Treatment for rash on elbow arising due to DH is strict adherence to gluten free diet. Avoid meals, drinks or medicine that contain the following:

  • wheat
  • rye
  • oats
  • barley

DH can be treated with antibiotics such as dapsone. Other drugs that can be used include tetracycline, sulfa pyridine and some immunosuppressive drugs.

7. Scabies rash

Elbow rash can also be caused by scabies bites. The main symptoms include intense itching and a bumpy rash on the areas where the mites have burrowed. The itch can get worse at night. Scabies rash consist of tiny red spots. Scratching can result to crusty sores developing. Burrow marks from scabies often appear in the elbows, wrists, palms of the hands, folds of the skin between fingers and toes and around the genitals.

Scabies Rash on Elbows

Scabies Rash on Elbows

8. Lichen planus

This is a common skin disorder that appear as shiny, flat-topped bumps having an angular shape reddish –purplish in color. Lichen planus can be found anywhere on your skin but is commonly found insides of the wrists and legs, the back, the neck and the lower back.

Rash on elbow STD

Elbow rash may be a sign and symptom of sexually transmitted disease such as herpes. HIV infected person suffering from herpes is more likely to develop rashes on the elbows, back and hands. The rashes are reddish and fluid filled. The treatment of rash on elbow depends on the cause. Treating the underlying sexually transmitted infection can help reduce itching and inflammation.

Itchy rash inside both elbows

The inside of the elbows can develop itchy rash, feeling a burning sensation. Itchy rash can be symptom of a serious underlying condition or disorder. The persistent need to scratch can attract infection causing the affected skin to hurt. A feeling of itch can be due to elbow eczema, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, scabies rash and among others. Treatment involves finding the underlying cause.

Red bumpy rash on inner elbow

Bumpy rash on inner elbow can be caused by some or all of the causes discussed above. The bumpy rash can a sign of scabies rash developing due to mites burrowing in the skin on inner elbow. Skin hives usually start as breakouts of red bumpy rash on the affected skin. Other causes include atopic eczema, dermatitis, autoimmune disorders, and gluten intolerance among others.

Red Bumpy Rash on Elbow

Red Bumpy Rash on Elbow

Elbow rash bumps gluten

Some people who have gluten intolerance are likely to develop itchy rash. This is caused by dermatitis herpetiformis which can cause blistering, burning skin rash on the elbows, knees, scalps, back and buttocks. The rash indicating gluten intolerance may be related to celiac disease. If you bumps developing from gluten you need to maintain a strict gluten-free diet.

Elbow rash treatment

The treatment of elbow rash depends upon the underlying cause. It is important to resist the urge to scratch the area if there is an itch, this can lead to infection and bleeding taking longer to heal.

Rashes on elbow can be treated with medications including over-the-counter creams and ointments containing steroids hydrocortisone. This is to help control itching, swelling and redness.

Antibiotics can be used to treat infected skin, while antihistamines can be used to control itching or burning sensation.

Home remedies to cure itchy elbow rash

Itchy rash on elbow can be treated with self-care measures with the following home remedies:

  • Apply olive oil or primrose oil to the affected elbow
  • Aloe is usually helpful for itchy rashes on skin. Apply fresh gel on the elbow from aloe plant to soothe irritation or burning feeling.
  • Avoid using cosmetics or lotions on your elbows.
  • If the cause of rash arises from gluten intolerance, follow a strict gluten- free diet
  • Avoid scratching the rash on your elbow, this can spread infection lengthening the healing time.
  • Wash the area with chamomile tea or apply corn starch over the rash


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