Itchy Elbows, Causes, Meaning, Red, Symptoms, Rash, Bumps, Treatment & Home Remedies

Itchy elbows are a clear sign of gluten intolerance, which can be related to a more serious underlying medical condition known as celiac disease. The itching is caused by a condition known as dermatitis herpetiformis DH, which causes itchy, blistering and burning skin rash. In this topic, we explore the meaning, symptoms, treatment and home remedies for the red bumps and rash on elbows.

Dermatitis herpetiformis is the main cause of itching on elbows. The condition is also referred to as Duhring’s disease or gluten rash. The condition can be very difficult to live with as it causes itching on the elbows, knees, scalp, back and buttocks. Most of the tm the rash will indicate a possible gluten rash which can have last effects. If diagnosed to be allergic to gluten, you need to make sure you maintain a gluten free diet all of the times.

Itchy Elbow Skin
Itchy Elbow Skin

It is important to know that dermatitis herpetiformis is not in any case related to herpes virus ass some might presume the name to men. The condition only occurs to people with celiac disease or those with gluten rash. Celiac disease is an auto immune disorder characterized by intolerance to gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. According to statistics of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 15 to 25 percent of the people with celiac disease have DH.

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  1. Rash on Elbows

Itchy Elbows Meaning – Superstition

Myth and superstition has been used since time immemorial to try and explain different phenomena.  Itching in itself has been seen as one of the manifestation of the human body connected with omens and fortunes. The interpretation of the same occurrence will always differ from place to place. That is to say different community will have different meaning and interpretation depending on their geographical location.

One of the common interpretation of itching on elbows is that, if the itching is on the right elbow, then it is possible you are going to receive good or exciting news. On the other hand, if the itching is on the left, then the news you’ll get will probably be about meeting or losses.

Symptoms of Itchy Elbows

Depending with what is causing the itchiness on elbows, the symptoms shown will vary from person to person. Some people will also have severe cases of itchy whereas others will only experience mild itching. Also if the itching is caused by external allergen, the duration will be less compared to the one caused by an underlying medical condition such as gluten rash.

Itchy Bumps on Elbows
Itchy Bumps on Elbows

Most people with dermatitis herpetiformis which is the main cause of itching on elbow have reported the following symptoms:

  • Itchy bumps on elbows that can also be seen on neck, knees, scalp and buttocks.
  • Painful blisters on skin
  • Burning skin rash
  • Dry itchy skin on elbows

For these that the itching is caused by gluten rash or celiac disease, the following symptoms can also be felt accompanying the itching and blistering.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting especially for children.
  • Tingling and numbness in hand and feet
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Flatulence and noisy stomach.
  • Tiredness and fatigue which in many cases will be a sign of iron deficiency or anemia
  • Hands, and feet may swell due to buildup of a fluid called Oedema.
  • Diarrhea

What Causes Itchy Elbows?

Below are some of the common and possible causes of itchy elbows.

1. Dermatitis herpetiformis

The common cause of itchy rash on elbows is however associated with gluten rash and celiac disease. According to research, a considerable number of people with celiac disease will develop dermatitis herpetiformis, this is a skin condition characterized by itchy elbows, knees and scalp. The condition is also known to cause blistering and burning sensation on skin that can be discomforting most of the times.

Dermatitis herpetiformis is a rare but persistent immunobullous disease linked to celiac disease. Even though some people may mistake the name to thinking the condition is caused by herpes virus, the condition is not caused by a virus. In contrast, the name is derived from the tendency of blisters to appear in clusters resembling herpes simplex.

Those at the highest risk of contracting the condition are;

  • Caucasians aged between 15-40
  • Male are likely to get infected than women
  • Females under the age of 20
  • Genetic predisposing meaning you are more likely to get the infection if one of your family members was infected with the condition before
  • Those with personal history of autoimmune disorder.

DH is mainly caused by gluten intolerance. The diagnosis of the condition can be done use of a skin biopsy, nutritional deficiencies screening, diagnostic blood taste and small intestine biopsy to confirm gluten—sensitive enteropathy.

2. Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition marked by red, itchy, scaly patches. Psoriasis, is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes a rapid build-up of skin cells. The symptoms of the condition will include the following:

  • Red patches on skin and elbows
  • Dry cracked skin that may bleed at times
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Small scaling spots

3. Eczema

Also called atopic dermatitis, eczema is a superficial inflammatory process involving the epidermis primarily marked by redness, itching, minute papules and vesicle weeping oozing and crusting. The specific cause of eczema remains unknown.

The condition is common in children whose parents had an atopic disease. If both parent had the condition, the risk increase even further. Other environmental factor bringing the symptoms of eczema includes irritants like soap, allergens, foods and hormones.

4. Celiac disease gluten intolerance

Celiac disease is a disease in which the small intestine is hypersensitive to gluten leading to difficulty in digesting food. If diagnosed with the condition, you need to maintain a gluten free diet. Avoid foods like wheat, rye, barley and bulgur.

 Itchy Inner Elbows

Apart from dermatitis herpetiformis, itchy inner elbows can be caused by eczema also known as atopic dermatitis and contact dermatitis caused by the irritation of the elbows by allergens. The allergens can include chemical, fabric and other irritants.

With eczema, the skin will be filled with patches that will cause the skin to become rough and inflamed. The skin will also develop blisters that causes itching and bleeding. Eczema can result from reaction to irritation, this is known as eczematous dermatitis. In most cases, atopic dermatitis will have no external causes.

For the case of contact dermatitis, it is in most cases a red, itchy rash caused by substance that comes in contact with the inner elbows. The rash is not contagious or life threatening, it can however be very uncomfortable and painful. Possible allergen will include soaps, cosmetics and fragrance.

The best way to treat this kind of itching is completely avoiding the allergens, topical ointment and emollients can also be used to soothe the skin and relieve the itching and irritation causing pain.

Red Itchy Elbows Causes

A red itchy elbows can be a source of pain and discomfort. Apart from gluten rash, the itching and redness can also be caused by the following skin conditions:

Red Itchy Elbow Skin Causes
Red Itchy Elbow Skin Causes

Atopic dermatitis-eczema

Contact dermatitis

Found on hands and forearm most of the times. This rash resemble a rash most of the times. It causes red and scaly. The skin may also develop blisters that ooze or become crusty. The rash is not contagious or life threatening but very uncomfortable to leave with.

Dry skin

This is a very uncomfortable skin condition marked by scaling, itching and cracking of the skin.  According to the American Skin Association, the condition can occur to people of all ages. The association also insists that the condition does not represent a serious problem. When the condition is associated to a pathological condition such as diabetes or malnutrition, the condition can be hard to treat.

Dry skin can be caused by lipid depletion. The causes of lipid depletion will include use of harsh soaps, wearing itchy clothes, and long hot shower and baths. Dry skin will in most cases worsen in winter when several environmental factor contributes to skin dryness.

Allergic eczema

Allergic eczema resembles a bur. It mostly affects the hands and forearms. It causes the skin to become itchy, red, and scaly. Severe cases of allergic eczema will blisters that ooze or become crusty.

Bite and stings      

The venom from insect bites and stings can also cause the itching and irritation.  Insects often causes a small, red lump on the skin. When the bite is on elbows, it might be painful and itchy. Most bites will clear up within a few hours or day and can be treated safely at home.

Bug bites are known to cause lump on skin, swelling, itchiness, blistering and bruising.


Also known as urticarial, hives is an outbreak of swollen, pale red bumps or plaque that appear suddenly on skin. The cause of the hives can be known allergen or unknown reason. Hives are known to cause itching but may also burn and sting.


Psoriasis is a common skin disease marked by red, itchy and scaly patches. It is a chronic auto immune condition that causes the rapid build-up of skin cells. The buildup is responsible for scaling on the skin surface. It is common to have inflammation around the scales.


Scabies is a contagious skin condition marked by itching and small raised red spots. The condition is caused by the itch mite. The condition is very contagious and as such it can easily spread from person to person through close physical contact.

Symptoms of scabies include itching, rash, sores and thick crusts. Those with these condition needs to minimize physical contact and seek immediate medical attention.

Lyme disease

Another possible cause of itchy is Lyme disease, an inflammatory disease characterized by a rash, headache, fever and chills. Lyme disease is caused by four main species of bacteria. The bacterial is infected through bites by a deer tick. This is a serious condition that calls for immediate medical attention.


The other possible cause of the itching could be measles. Measles is a viral infection that causes fever and a red rash on skin. The condition is common in children than in adults.

The condition can be shown by the following symptoms cough, fever, itchy rash, red eyes and sore throats.

Bumps on Elbows

Medical and environmental factors contribute a lot to the formation of bumps on elbows. Ou elbows are in most time exposed to possible irritation from soaps, clothing and the sun. These bumps are common in both children and adults. In most cases, children are at the highest risk of developing these bumps than healthy adult.

Bumps on Elbows
Bumps on Elbows

The common cause of the bumps in children are psoriasis, eczema and scabies. In most people, these skin condition are caused by a combination of genetic and allergic irritation of the immune system. Psoriasis and eczema will generally occur in elbows and knees.

Eczema also known as atopic dermatitis will cause an itchy red rash on skin. Eczema is a medical condition known to cause patches on the skin. The patches will become rough and inflamed. In some people, the patches may also cause blisters that causes itching and bleeding. Atopic dermatitis or eczema can result from skin reaction to irritation or just for no obvious reason.

Once diagnosed with eczema, your dermatologist or allergist will help you identify the correct and most effective treatment option. Treatment can include:

  • Oral antihistamine to help relieve the itching
  • Cortisone or steroid creams can also help relieve or get rid of scaling and itching on the elbows.
  • In cases of infection, your doctor may also prescribe an oral or topical antibiotic
  • if stress is a the trigger, then a lifestyle change can be prescribed, yoga, meditation and breathing exercises can all help manage the
  • Apart from these, home remedies and herbs can help relieve and manage the symptoms.

Causes of Bumps on Elbows

In both children and adults the common causes of bumps on elbows will include the following:

  • Contact dermatitis caused by allergens or allergic substance that comes in contact with the skin.
  • Bites and stings will cause heat, redness and swelling at the site of the bites. The bites can be painful and irritating, most will cause itching, numbness and tingling.
  • Fungal infection of the skin caused by buildup or contact with microorganisms can also cause itching and swelling of the elbows. Fungal infection is known to cause itching, swelling, peeling of the skin and cracking. Most of the time, the rash will start as reddish, itchy and scaly.
  • Scabies especially in children may take long before the symptoms appear. When the rash finally appears, it will be pimply and made up of tiny blisters.
  • Allergic eczema will be show by symptoms such as itching, a burning sensation and inflammation of the skin.
  • Rheumatic fever is a noncontagious acute fever characterized by inflammation and pain in the joints. The condition is caused by streptococcal bacterial infection. It is common in young people than it is in adults.
  • Chicken pox an infectious disease causing mild fever and a rash of inflamed blisters can also cause bumps on elbows. Chicken pox is caused by herpes zoster virus and mainly affects children. Once infected, you become immune to future infection by the .

Itchy Bumps on Elbows

Depending with what is causing the bumps on elbows, most people will in most cases complain of itching. By definition, itching is the unpleasant sensation that complies a person to scratch the affected area. Itching is medically referred to as pruritus. It is important to know that itching can affect any part of the body.

The common causes of itching will include skin condition such eczema, allergies or skin reaction, insect bite, scabies, fungal infection and hormonal changes especially for pregnant women. To relieve the itching on elbows, you can part the affected area instead of scratching. Apply a cold compress to cool down the itching or shower or bath with lukewarm water.

Natural remedy like aloe Vera gel and chamomile tea wash can also be used to relive the skin of the itching.  Avoid harsh perfumers and body deodorants.

Bumps on Elbows Non-Itchy

Not all bumps on elbows turn out to be itchy. Some people will have the bumps but lack the itching. If you do not scratch the bump it is possible to mild cases of itching or lack the itching completely. The itching will also depend on the underlying cause of the bumps in the first place.

If the bumps or the rash is caused by an underlying medical condition, for example gluten rash, maintaining a gluten free diet will help relieve the itching and pain. Also reducing the contact with the allergen will help get rid of the bumps.

Rash on Elbows Causes

Rash on elbows can be Caused by the following:

  • Contact dermatitis
  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Fungal infection
  • Hay fever
  • Allergic eczema
  • Gluten rash
  • Celiac disease
  • Dermatitis herpetiformis

Itchy Rash on Elbows

Eczema or atopic dermatitis, is the most common cause of itchy rash. The condition can have mild to severe symptoms which can be relieved by topical ointments and home remedies like aloe Vera. If the symptoms becomes too severe, seek medical attention.

Itchy Elbows No Rash

It is common form some people to experience the itching with no rash. To relieve these condition avoid scratching the affected area. You can also apply a cold compress to soothe the skin and relieve the itching.

Home remedies like aloe Vera gel, chamomile tea wash and oatmeal bath can also help in reducing the itching and speeding up the healing process.

Treatment for Itchy Elbows

Depending, with what is causing the itching, mild cases of itching can be relieved using topical ointments. If the cause of the itching is dry skin, emollients can be used to keep the skin moist and reduce the itching.

For cases of infection oral or topical antibiotic can be prescribed.

For those with celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis, maintain a gluten free diet is the most recommended,

Home Remedies to Get Rid, Soothe, Relieve Itchy Elbows

Mild case of itchy elbows can be managed and treated at home, to do that, you need to do the following:

Avoid scratching the affected elbow to [prevent cracking the skin and offer the rash an enabling environment to heal.

For children and toddlers, a cold compress ones or twice a day can help soothe the skin and reduce the itching.

Apply aloe Vera gel to reduce inflammation, itching and bacterial infection.

The soothing property of Oatmeal can be used to treat itching, inflammation and sensitive skin while restoring skin moisture and essential minerals. It can also be effective for skin infection.

Reference and source.


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