Rashes are a non specific symptom that causes a break in a person’s skin and is characteristically accompanied by redness. It affects all age groups, may it be the infants, adults or those who are in their old age. A person, regardless of age, may develop a rash as a result of scratching, due to the itchy feeling in the skin.
This itchy feeling is medically referred to as “pruritus”. However, a rash is not limited to itchy ones; there are also rashes that are non-itchy such as rosacea and psoriasis. Basically, a skin rash may be an intraepidermal vesicle rash or one that has an urticarial wheal or macular eruption presentation.
To assess a rash, the patient is usually asked to point out or tell the nurse/physician (whoever is assessing him/her) which parts of the body are involved or are indicating symptoms of itchiness or lack thereof. And then, to make the rash more evident to the assessor, the skin is usually stretched in a gentle manner to decrease the redness of the skin and consequently making the rash more evident. Moreover, a penlight may be used to further highlight the rash for better assessment. The penlight is usually laterally positioned across the skin, so as to observe easier. Also, the skin may also be lightly touched using the fingertips to assess the border of the rash.
More often than not, rashes are generalized all over the body; but in some cases, it can be localized to one or two anatomical areas such as the knees and the elbows.
In this article, we are going to focus more on eradicating or getting rid of rashes that present in a particular body part: the knees and the elbows.
However, let us first answer this question: Why does a person develop rashes? What are its causes? Actually, there can be various causes that may precedent the occurrence of rashes.
Certain serious skin diseases may be the main cause of simple looking rashes which may get worse with time. Let’s have a look what are the other serious causes:
Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis: have common symptoms like inflammation with small red itchy rash, scaling skin, rash oozing out some fluid. This problem may be hereditary hence it is called atopic. It can occur at any age, during childhood the skin around the outer side of knees are affected and as the person grows the skin of inner and outer side both gets infected along with elbows which may spread further to all over the body in certain cases. It is usually treated by using medicated moisturizing creams or steroids.
Psoriasis: or Chronic Plaque Psoriasis infects the skin of outer side of knees and elbows; and Flexural Psoriasis infects skin folds around knees and elbows. It creates itchy rash, scales and patches over the skin. To treat it various steroids and drugs are prescribed by doctors.
Numular Dermatitis: also known as Discoid Eczema causes disk shaped plaque on the back side of knees and can spread to other leg, arms and trunk. The plaque maybe dry or wet both and is most likely to occur during winters. Different drugs, moisturizing creams and steroids are used to cure it.
Dermatitis Herpetiformis: causes itchy sores or blisters around the knees, elbows and even neck regions. It may occur with celian disease to people who are prone to it and are sensitive to gluten. Doctors say that the best cure for this is Dapson and putting the patient on a gluten free diet.
Some of its direct causes are insect bites, burns, heat rashes, allergies caused by food and cosmetics, fragrances, animal fur or fabrics. Moreover, rashes are also one of the most common mild allergic responses to pharmacological regimens. These rashes that are non infectious in nature usually do not need immediate medical attention. Examples of common non infectious rashes are eczema, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis and contact dermatitis (most common) to name a few. It may be treated by over the counter drugs, usually hydrocortisone creams. However, if the rash persists after a week’s time, it is highly advisable to seek medical attention for further assessments and appropriate therapeutic regimens.
Rashes that are infectious in nature are however caused by bacterial, fungal, viral or parasitic infections. Common exmples are herpes and ring worm or medically referred to as “tinea”. A specimen culture is usually being done to determine the specific cause of infectious rashes. It is important to do a culture on the specimen to ensure proper and appropriate treatment regimens.
Now, let’s finally go to the main gist of this article: the rashes in the knees and elbows, and how to get rid of it. Rashes in the knees and elbows that are obviously localized in nature may present a self-esteem problem to the person having it. Of course, these areas are highly visible to others and it creates a not so good physical image. It makes the person more conscious than usual on their choice of clothings, trying to hide these red rashes that taint their skin. Or worse, they may feel the urge to lessen contact with other people due to their skin condition.
These particular rashes in the knees and elbows develop usually due to various causes. It may be (as mentioned above) due to allergic reactions towards immediate foreign substances coming in direct contact to the exposed skin of the elbows and the knees. Examples of these foreign substances are various soap products, creams, lotions, fur, and fabric on your clothings, food substances and also medications. Other living things may also predispose the occurrence of rashes in your knees and elbows, particularly plants and insects. The pollen in plants and also plants such as poison ivy and poison oak may greatly contribute to skin rashes in the elbows and knees. This is mainly because the knees and elbows are highly exposed and has a very big chance of coming in contact with these plants especially if the person is in a very close proximity to these plants. Insect bites, on the other hand is a very common cause of skin rashes too, also mainly because of the fact that the skin in your elbows and knees are highly exposed and there is a very fat chance of insects targeting anatomical parts of the body that are easier to bite.
Also, rashes in your skin and elbows may be an underlying symptom of a disease. Examples of diseases that manifest rash as one of their symptoms are common and german measles, dengue hemorrhagic fever, chicken pox, small pox and shingles to name a few.
Now let us go to the treatment of these rashes in your elbow and knees. There are actually home remedies that can be done to alleviate or better yet, cure these rashes. However, it is still best to seek medical attention for a better chance of proper and appropriate treatment.
Home remedies for the treatment of rashes in your skin and elbows are as follows:
- First option and usually the most convenient of all is the application of cold compress to the area affected. It may help relieve the pruritus and the swelling of the affected area.
- Another option includes the use of various herbal roots available in the lush vegetation courtesy of our natural resources. The roots act as a sweat inducer that naturopaths believe as an effective way to excrete toxins that cause dermatitis or rash. Common examples of these roots are burdock root, sarsaprilla root, chaparral root, dandelion root and yarrow to name a few.
- Oatmeal bath and cornstarch may also be beneficial to people suffering from rashes. Simply add the uncooked oatmeals to your bath and soak in it for about 20 minutes, tops.
- Aloe vera gel or olive oil may also be applied in the affected areas to relieve rashes.
- Lastly, to prevent the occurrence of these rashes, simply AVOID pollens and places where insects live and discontinue the use of products that you are allergic to.
On the other hand, the most common pharmacological intervention in the treatment of rashes is over the counter drugs such as hydrocortisone, a steroidal topical cream.