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Q. How can a painful hard bump in arm be treated?

Answered by
Dr. Peter Grutas
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M
This is a premium question & answer published on Jul 17, 2020

Hello doctor,

Over the past few days this hard bump has been growing on my left arm and now it is decently big and it hurts to touch. I am confused because it just came out of nowhere. I am wondering if it is a cyst or tumor. I am an 18 years old, male. 5”11 , 165 lbs.

Dr. Peter Grutas

General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome to

Did you recently sustain injury? How about recent insect bite? How long have you had this? From what size it started? Can you estimate how big it is now? Is there weakness or numbness? Can you send more pictures in different views? I will be needing these to better address your concern. Cysts are deemed to be soft in consistency while tumors are more solid.

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Thank you doctor,

I was on vacation last week and we stayed in not the best hotel, so it could definitely be an insect bite. It started off pretty small and painless like 3 days ago but now it is pretty big and very painful when I touch it.

Dr. Peter Grutas

General Medicine Internal Medicine


Welcome back to

Thank you for this information. Based on the additional pictures you sent (attachment removed to protect patient identity), this seems more of an insect bite and least likely to be a tumor or a cyst at this point. For the pain, you may take Tylenol or Ibuprofen 200 mg/tab 1 tablet as needed for pain. If it is itchy you may apply Hydrocortisone or Antihistamine cream.

For the swelling, you may apply cold compress on the affected area. If symptoms persist, worsen or new onset of symptoms such as increase pain, increase in size, weakness and numbness, further consult is advised. Is there anything else I can help you with?

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