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Dr. Bob
Dr. Bob, Medical Doctor
Category: Oncology
Satisfied Customers: 5357
Experience:  20 Years in Internal Medicine, Neurology and Sports Medicine
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I have a nickel size lump on my left arm -slightly above my

Customer Question

Hello, I have a nickel size lump on my left arm -slightly above my funny bone on the underside of my arm. It is extremely painful and cannot rest may arm. Ultrasound showed it was NOT a blood clot and was a lymph node? Today the top of my arm and lower hand started hurting and tender to touch..Any thoughts or advice?
JA: What seems to make the symptoms worse or better? In general, how would you describe your health lately?
Customer: Touching it or resting my arm on an arm rest make it worse. Have tried wrapping in warm towels and that did not make it feel better. In general , my health is good.
JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?
Customer: No. Just recently had all of my annuals done and they came back just fine and within range
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Oncology
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 10 months ago.

Hi there. How long have you had this lump on your arm? Do you have any skin lesions or rashes anywhere on the arm or hand?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Since Monday. Yes I had some cuts and scratches on my hands and I had recently had a bad break out of eczema. I was also working in the yard quite a bit sometimes with gloves on sometimes with not however always cleaned up quite well afterwards.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I have had problems with my right arm over the last year thinking it is tennis elbow however no visible lumps . And no pain setting it down on an armrest like I have with my left arm now.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 10 months ago.

An infection anywhere on the hand or forearm or elbow area, even a small one associated with eczema, will drain up the lymphatic channels of the arm and into the upper chest.

Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 10 months ago.

This can trigger the enlargement and inflammation of lymph nodes along the way. I would suggest you have the eczema treated and try a course of antibiotics.

Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 10 months ago.

With resolution of any infection, the lymph nodes should slowly return to normal within 2 or 3 weeks.

Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 10 months ago.

If this did not fix the problem, a CT scan or MRI of the arm would provide a lot more detailed information about the nature of this lump.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
My hands got really bad at one point and I'm sure there was an infection or two. I did finally end up using my steroid cream. And that seem to calm them down a bit. However in the mix of all of that, I put it picked up something in the dirt or even gotten bit by something. I do have a doctors appointment scheduled for tomorrow as he was the one who had originally ordered the ultrasound to rule out a blood clot.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Is this something that you think I can ride out without the anabiotic's?
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 10 months ago.

Possibly, if you are in good health otherwise and get the eczema under control (as it can lead to tiny cracks in the skin and the continued introduction of bacteria under the surface).

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Do you recommend I have any specific blood tests run?
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 10 months ago.

I would suggest a CBC to check your white and red blood cell counts. You might also consider a CRP or ESR to look for inflammation in the blood, though these tests are quite non-specific.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Do you feel a general course of antibiotics will help dissolve the lump as well as getting rid of any remaining bacteria?
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 10 months ago.

That is a typical approach to treating an inflammed lymph node without any other explanation. It cleans the skin, so to speak, and reduces the corresponding inflammation in the lymph nodes.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
OK so I guess my last question is the intense pain normal? Thank you so much for all of your help with this.
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 10 months ago.

Intense pain is unusual with an inflammed lymph node. They may be tender to touch and/or achy but not intensely painful. Intense pain or burning is more suggestive of shingles, which may or may not have a rash, but certainly involves an inflammed nerve, and may cause nearby lymph nodes to swell as well.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
The intense pain is only when I accidentally touch it or rest my arm the wrong way. Based on everything we discussed I think it has to do with an infection from either the eczema or cut or scratch and then working in the yard. Thank you again for your assistance. You have been wonderful!
Expert:  Dr. Bob replied 10 months ago.

You're welcome. Hope this improves soon.

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