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Learn about your shoulder itch, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your shoulder itch 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.

Shoulder Itch Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having shoulder itch.

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Your Shoulder Itch May Also be Known as:
Arm itchiness
Arm itching
Arm itchy
Arm scratchiness
Arm scratching
Arm scratchy
Clavicle itchiness
Clavicle itching
Clavicle itchy
Clavicle scratchiness

Top 10 Shoulder Itch Causes

  1. 1.Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)

    Eczema is a form of skin inflammation that causes skin to be dry, itchy, red, and irritated.

    You should go to your local pharmacy or retail clinic to be treated. The usual treatment for atopic eczema involves avoiding irritants and other triggers, using moisturizers to prevent inflammation, as well as steroid creams and ointments when the inflammation flares up.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    trouble sleeping, feeling itchy or tingling all over, dry skin, scalp itchiness, flexor surface rash
    Symptoms that never occur with eczema (atopic dermatitis):
    fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  2. 2.Rotator Cuff Tendonitis

    Impingement syndrome is a common shoulder condition seen in aging adults. The tendons of rotator cuff muscles, whose action is to rotate the arm such such as during a tennis swing, pass in a narrow space between two bones in the shoulder. When the space becomes too narrow, which can happen as a result of an overuse injury, pain may develop as the tendons rub against the bones.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will coordinate care with a muscle and bone specialist (orthopedic surgeon). Treatments for impingement syndrome involve rest, over-the-counter pain medication, steroid injections, physical therapy, and surgery in rare, serious cases.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, dull, achy shoulder pain, shoulder pain that gets worse at night, difficulty moving the shoulder, shoulder pain from overuse
    Symptoms that always occur with rotator cuff tendonitis:
    pain in one shoulder
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Pinched Nerve in the Neck

    With age, disks separating the cervical vertebrae (which are the bones of your spine in your neck) lose height as well as lose water content, becoming stiffer. The vertebrae move closer together, and nerves that exit between these bones may be pinched, causing pain to travel down the nerve as it passes through the arm. The pain is usually sharp, and some people report a "pins and needles" sensation or even complete numbness.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will coordinate your care with a muscle and bone specialist (orthopedic surgeon). Cervical radiculopathy is treated with pain medication, soft neck collars, and physical therapy.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, pain that radiates down arm, pain in the back of the neck, severe shoulder pain
    Symptoms that always occur with pinched nerve in the neck:
    pain that radiates down arm
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  4. 4.Folliculitis

    Folliculitis is a common skin problem where hair follicles are infected by bacteria or fungi.

    You can take take care of this at home by using a topical antibacterial or benzoyl peroxide. Also, reduce exposures to irritants like shaving, contaminated water, and other chemicals.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    small neck lump, pink or red neck bump, neck itch, yellow or white neck bump, neck bump leaking yellow/milky fluid
    Symptoms that always occur with folliculitis:
    small neck lump
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  5. 5.Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

    The carpal tunnel is a narrow passageway filled with ligament and bones at the base of your hand. It contains nerve and tendons. Sometimes, thickening from irritated tendons or other swelling narrows the tunnel and causes the nerve to be compressed. Symptoms usually start gradually, and as they worsen, grasping objects can become difficult.

    Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent permanent nerve damage. Your doctor will diagnose carpal tunnel syndrome with a physical exam and special nerve tests. Treatment includes resting your hand, splints, pain and anti-inflammatory medicines. If symptoms do not improve with these less invasive treatments, your physician may recommend surgery.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    spontaneous shoulder pain, hand weakness, wrist pain, pain in one hand, weakness in one hand
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

    Shoulder Itch Checker

    Take a quiz to find out why you’re having shoulder itch.

    Take a quiz
  6. 6.Scabies

    Scabies is a highly contagious skin infection caused by mites that produce an itchy rash on the body.

    You and those you have been in contact with should visit a primary care physician within the next 24 hours, where a diagnosis can be made. Treatment with medical creams will kill the mites and their eggs. Please limit contact with other persons during this time.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    vaginal itch or burning, vulvovaginal redness, feeling itchy or tingling all over, butt itch, elbow itch
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Thoracic Outlet Syndrome

    Thoracic Outlet Syndrome is the compression of the nerves and/or blood vessels that run through the upper chest. It can occur as a result of trauma, surgery, growths in the body, or just randomly.

    You should seek medical care soon to determine whether the compression is of the nerve or the blood vessels. You may need imaging using x-rays, CTs of the blood streams, or MRIs. Treatment depends on the extent of the injury, but usually includes physical therapy. Surgical treatment may be required if a blood vessel is compressed.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, arm weakness, pain in one shoulder blade, arm numbness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Allergic Contact Dermatitis of the Neck

    Allergic contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes irritated and inflamed following physical contact with an allergen. Common products known to cause allergic dermatitis include plants, metals, soap, fragrance, and cosmetics.

    You can safely treat this condition on at home. The main treatment for this disease is to avoid the substance that triggers the skin inflammation. Moisturizer can also be helpful to provide relief for your inflamed skin.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    neck redness, neck itch, scabbed area of the neck
    Symptoms that always occur with allergic contact dermatitis of the neck:
    neck redness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  9. 9.Allergic Contact Dermatitis of the Armpit

    Allergic contact dermatitis is a condition in which the skin becomes irritated and inflamed following physical contact with an allergen. Common products known to cause allergic dermatitis include plants, metals, soap, fragrance, and cosmetics.

    You can safely treat this condition on at home. The main treatment for this disease is to avoid the substance that triggers the skin inflammation. Moisturizer can also be helpful to provide relief for your inflamed skin.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    armpit redness, armpit itch
    Symptoms that always occur with allergic contact dermatitis of the armpit:
    armpit redness
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  10. 10.Beriberi (Adult)

    A low level of vitamin B1 (thiamin) can cause damage to the heart, brain and nerves. This can result in symptoms like weakness, amnesia, nerve pain and symptoms of heart failure like swelling of limbs and shortness of breath.

    You should seek immediate medical care at an ER. You may need to be admitted to the hospital to get treatment with vitamin B1 via drip in.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    shortness of breath, abdominal pain (stomach ache), chest pain, anxiety, distal numbness
    Urgency:
    Hospital emergency room

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Shoulder Itch

  • Q.How long ago did your shoulder first start to itch?
  • Q.How badly is your shoulder itching?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Is your upper arm itchiness constant or come-and-go?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our shoulder itch symptom checker.

Take a quiz

Shoulder Itch Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced shoulder itch have also experienced:

    • 10% Upper Arm Itch
    • 8% Forearm Itch
    • 7% Wrist Itch
  • People who have experienced shoulder itch had symptoms persist for:

    • 47% Over a Month
    • 34% Less Than a Week
    • 13% Two Weeks to a Month
  • People who have experienced shoulder itch were most often matched with:

    • 33% Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)
    • 12% Rotator Cuff Tendonitis
    • 8% Pinched Nerve in the Neck

Shoulder Itch Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having shoulder itch.

Take a quiz