Read below about chest bump, including causes, treatment options and remedies. Or get a personalized analysis of your chest bump from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

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Chest Bump Symptoms

A lump or bump that appears on the chest, either suddenly or over time, is usually not serious. If the bump is unsightly and interferes with clothing, many patients will initially have it examined mostly for that reason. [14]

With some conditions, however, a chest bump can be a sign of a more concerning illness. For that reason, any bump that appears for no apparent reason should be examined by the medical provider. A "chest bump" might also be called a lump, nodule, cyst, or tumor. [14]

Chest bump characteristics: [14]

  • Hard and bony.
  • Firm and flexible, like the tip of the nose.
  • Soft and doughy.
  • Reddened and filled with pus.
  • May be painful or painless.
  • May grow rapidly or remain the same size.

Who is most often affected by chest bump symptoms? [14]

  • Anyone who has suffered any traumatic injury to the chest.
  • Anyone with a weakened immune system, because that makes you more vulnerable to infections and to the viruses that cause warts.

Are chest bump symptoms serious? [14]

  • A small bump that appears because of an infection or a minor trauma will usually resolve on its own.
  • A larger infection, or a bump that is painful, should be treated by a medical provider.
  • A bump that grows larger over time for no apparent reason should be seen by a medical provider as soon as possible.

Chest Bump Causes Overview

Many conditions can have a chest bump as a symptom. The most common involve superficial skin conditions, deeper skin and tissue conditions, and systemic illnesses or tumors. [1,2,3]

Most common chest bump cause types:

  • Contact allergy – if something touches the chest that provokes a reaction, such as a plant, a certain type of soap, or any other substance that you are allergic to, a bump may quickly form on the skin. [4]

  • Infections:

    • A boil, or furuncle, is a fungal or bacterial infection of the hair follicles. It may resemble a large pimple and will be red, painful, swollen, and filled with pus. [6]
    • A wart is a rounded bump that is rough and grainy in appearance. It is usually due to systemic infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV.) The virus may hibernate before showing up as a wart, activated by skin irritation and/or a depressed immune system. [7]
  • Unusual growths, nearly always benign (non-cancerous).

    • A small, soft, hanging piece of black, brown, or red skin. It looks like a flattened mole on a stalk. [9]
    • A firm mole with blood vessels inside it, and so it looks bright red. May become more raised as the person ages. [9]
    • A small, hardened skin growth that may be gray, brown, or red. [9]
    • A mass of dark, fibrous scar tissue that forms after a wound heals. [2]

Less common chest bump cause types:

  • Infections:

  • A pus-filled infection of the deeper skin layers. [10]

  • A sac-like membrane containing air, fluid, pus, and/or other material. It can result from infection, a blocked duct, a foreign body, or chronic inflammation. [11]

  • Trauma:

  • Any injury may cause scar tissue to form after fracture or other damage to the rib bones or their cartilage. [12]

  • A painful lump may form between two ribs, usually after surgery or direct injury to the bone or cartilage. [12]

  • A swollen collection of blood may form under the skin after an injury. [14]

  • The armpit glands can become inflamed and form bumps at the sides of the chest. [14]

  • Aging can cause calcification of rib cartilage and bumps under the skin, with or without an injury. [15]

Rare and unusual chest bump cause types:

  • A slow-growing, benign fatty tumor may form between the skin and the underlying muscle. It is painless, colorless, soft, and doughy. [16]
  • Various cancers can manifest with bumps and lumps under the skin of the chest, in both males and females. [14]

A.I. Health Assistant Causes for Chest Bump

The list below shows results from the use of our A.I. Health Assistant by Buoy users who experienced chest bump. This list does not constitute medical advice.

  1. 1.Lipoma

    A lipoma is a noncancerous growth of fatty tissue cells. A lipoma can develop in almost any organ of the body although they are most commonly found in the subcutaneous layer just below the skin.

    Resolves with treatment

    Top Symptoms:
    skin-colored groin bump, marble sized groin lump, small groin lump
    Symptoms that always occur with lipoma:
    skin-colored groin bump
    Wait and watch
  2. 2.Skin Cyst

    An epidermoid cyst is a closed sac under the skin filled with a cheese-like or oily material. It is caused by trauma or surgery.

    Resolves with treatment

    Top Symptoms:
    skin-colored armpit bump, marble sized armpit lump, small armpit lump
    Symptoms that always occur with skin cyst:
    skin-colored armpit bump
    Wait and watch
  3. 3.Skin Abscess

    A skin abscess is an infection of the deeper skin that's typically due to bacteria seen on the skin. Recently, infections are more frequently caused by Staph. Aureus (puts the "staph" in "staph infections"), which is dangerous and requires treatment.

    Good prognosis with treatment

    Top Symptoms:
    rash with bumps or blisters, red rash, red skin bump larger than 1/2 cm in diameter, pus-filled rash, rash
    Symptoms that always occur with skin abscess:
    rash with bumps or blisters
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Dermatofibroma

    Dermatofibroma (superficial benign fibrous histiocytoma) is a common cutaneous nodule of unknown etiology that occurs more often in women. Dermatofibroma frequently develops on the extremities (mostly the lower legs) and is usually asymptomatic, although pruritus and tenderness can be present

    Resolves with treatment

    Top Symptoms:
    small facial lump, pink or red facial bump, face itch, skin-colored facial bump, painful facial bump
    Wait and watch

    Chest Bump Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having chest bump.

    Chest Bump Quiz
  5. 5.Male Breast Cancer

    Although breast cancer is much more common in women, men can get it too. It happens most often to men between the ages of 60 and 70.


    Ultra rare
    Top Symptoms:
    chest bump, lump below the skin on the chest, painless chest wall lump, rib pain, nipple discharge
    Symptoms that always occur with male breast cancer:
    lump below the skin on the chest
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Wart

    Warts are non-serious skin growths caused by a virus that infects the top layer of the skin. They are contagious. Thus, warts on the face are often spread there by the hands, and vice versa.

    78% go away in 2 years

    Top Symptoms:
    small facial lump, painless facial bump, skin-colored facial bump, scaly facial bump
    Symptoms that never occur with wart:
  7. 7.Basal Cell Carcinoma

    Basal cell carcinoma is a slow-growing form of skin cancer. Skin cancer falls into two major groups: Non-melanoma and melanoma. Basal cell carcinoma is a type of non-melanoma skin cancer.


    Top Symptoms:
    facial skin changes, pink or red facial bump, small facial lump, painless facial bump, growing facial lump
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Pimple

    Acne, also known as pimples, occurs when hair follicles become clogged with oil & dead skin cells. Acne is extremely common and ranges from mild to severe.

    The severity of the acne dictates treatment-type and duration. With proper treatment, acne should resolve in weeks to months. In some cases, acne is a long-term condition.

    Top Symptoms:
    pink or red facial bump, small facial lump, painful facial bump, marble sized facial lump
    Symptoms that always occur with pimple:
    pink or red facial bump

Chest Bump Treatments and Relief

Seek immediate chest bump treatment in the emergency room or call 911 if:

  • A chest bump appears immediately after a traumatic injury. A rib bone may be broken or displaced, creating a bump even without breaking the skin. This is a medical emergency due to the danger of the bone puncturing the lung. [17]

Schedule an appointment for:

  • Any chest bump that arises suddenly for no apparent reason, is painful, or seems suspicious. [14]
  • Any chest bump that you know is benign, but is unsightly or becoming irritated by clothes, equipment that you wear, etc. These bumps can usually be removed quite easily in the doctor's office. [9]

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Chest Bump

  • Q.What color is the bump?
  • Q.Do you feel pain when you touch the bump?
  • Q.Is the lump on your chest on the surface of the skin or below the skin?
  • Q.Is there fluid coming out of the bump?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our chest bump symptom checker to find out more.

Chest Bump Quiz

Chest Bump Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced chest bump have also experienced:

    • 14% Rib Pain
    • 4% Shortness of Breath
    • 3% Fatigue
  • People who have experienced chest bump had symptoms persist for:

    • 42% Over a Month
    • 24% Less Than a Week
    • 12% Less Than a Day
  • People who have experienced chest bump were most often matched with:

    • 100% Skin Abscess
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

A.I. Health Assistant

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having chest bump

Chest Bump Quiz


  1. Cohen RG, Hallsten J, Schwartz T, Reddy R, Lin J. Chest Wall Tumors. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons: The Patient Guide to Heart, Lung, and Esophageal Surgery. Society of Thoracic Surgeons Link. Published August 2016. Accessed October 1, 2018.
  2. Park TH, Seo SW, Kim JK, Chang CH. Management of chest keloids. Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery. 2011;6:49. J Cardiothorac Surg Link. Published April 2011. Accessed October 1, 2018.
  3. Lumps. NHS. NHS Link. Reviewed December 12, 2017. Accessed October 1, 2018.
  4. 12 Common Summertime Skin Rashes in Children. American Academy of Pediatrics: Healthy Health Children Link. Published June 30,2017. Accessed October 2, 2018.
  5. Collins G, Mulhall M, Riley B, Ryan V. Symptoms of lymphoma. Lymphoma Action. Lymphoma Action Link. Reviewed November 2015. Updated June 2017. Accessed October 2, 2018.
  6. Freeborn D, Lentnek A, Sather R. MRSA Infection in Children. University of Rochester Medical Center: Health Encyclopedia. URMC Link. Accessed October 2, 2018.
  7. Warts. Seattle Children's Hospital Research Foundation. Seattle Children's Link. Revised March 31, 2018. Reviewed October 2, 2018. Accessed October 2, 2018.
  8. Skin Tags. NHS.NHS Link. Reviewed November 23, 2016. Accessed October 2, 2018.
  9. Moles, Freckles, Skin Tags, Lentigines & Seborrheic Keratoses. Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic Link. Reviewed January 9, 2018. Accessed October 3, 2018.
  10. Cellulitis. NHS. NHS Link. Reviewed January 17, 2018. Accessed October 3, 2018.
  11. Skin Cyst. NHS. NHS Link. Reviewed May 18, 2017. Accessed October 3, 2018.
  12. Miller M. Scar Pain. Pain Management. Pain Management Link. Accessed October 3, 2018.
  13. DAI W, ZHUANG X, LI Q, XIAO P, SHEN Y, ZHENG P. Giant chronic expanding hematoma in the chest identified 25 years after a blunt chest trauma. Molecular and Clinical Oncology. 2016;4(4):507-509. Mol Clin Oncol Link. Published April 2016. Accessed October 3, 2018.
  14. Blahd WH, Romito K, Thompson EG, Husney A, Healthwise Staff. Swollen Glands, Hernias, and Other Lumps Under the Skin. Michigan Medicine: University of Michigan. Michigan Medicine Link. Published November 20, 2017. Accessed October 3, 2018.
  15. Guttentag AR, Salwen JK. Keep Your Eyes on the Ribs: The Spectrum of Normal Variants and Diseases That Involve the Ribs. Radio Graphics. 1999; 19(5):1125-1142. RSNA Link. Published September 1, 1999. Accessed October 3, 2018.
  16. Lipoma. NHS. NHS. Reviewed August 17, 2017. Accessed October 3, 2018.
  17. Blahd WH, Thompson EG, Husney A, Romito K, Russo ET, Gabica MJ, Healthwise Staff. Fractured Rib. Michigan Medicine: Univeristy of Michigan. Michigan Medicine. Published November 29, 2017. Accessed October 3, 2018.