Lump Under Chin: Causes and Treatments for Chin Lumps

Medically Reviewed By Jenneh Rishe, RN

A lump under the chin appears as a local area of swelling around the chin, jaw, or throat. Lumps can result from many conditions, including infection, benign growths, cancer, or injury. Some causes can be mild and easily manageable. However, others may require prompt medical help. Causes of chin lumps can include both acute and chronic conditions.

Different types of lumps may appear under the chin. These can include nodules, contusions, tumors, and cysts.

Depending on the cause and the type of lump, the physical appearance of a chin lump can vary. These varying symptoms can include:

  • singular or numerous lumps
  • soft or firm, hard lumps
  • painful or painless lumps
  • lumps that stay the same size or grow quickly
  • lumps that contain pus or fluid
  • lumps that are growths of skin or other tissue cells
  • lumps that appear flushed or discolored
  • lumps that are visible at all times or only when touching the skin

This article will discuss some significant causes of lumps under the chin, symptoms, and treatments for different causes of chin lumps. It will also explain when to visit a doctor, potential complications, and outlook.

Injury or trauma

A woman's chin below the surface of the water of a pool.
kkgas/Stocksy United

Sometimes, injury or trauma can cause swelling or lumps. These lumps can include hematomas or fractured bones, such as on the jaw.

Causes of injury may include hard blows, pinches, surgery, and bumping into objects.

If you have recently experienced an injury or surgery, contact your doctor for symptoms, including:

  • intense pain
  • difficulty moving the affected area
  • swelling and bruising
  • decreased function of the body part

Treatment

Treatment for injury or trauma will depend on its cause and symptoms.

Mild hematomas may improve on their own, but more severe cases can require surgery.

Other lumps from an injury, such as a fracture, may also require surgery and management with pain relief medication.

Infection and inflammatory reactions

The neck contains glands called lymph nodes. These lymph nodes contain white blood cells that help the body respond to infection and disease.

As a result, swollen lymph nodes may occur if you are experiencing an infection. Swollen lymph nodes can feel like a lump under the chin or near the throat. They may be painful or tender and can appear swollen on each side of the neck.

Swollen glands in the neck may occur due to bacterial and viral infections, such as:

These infections can range in severity from mild to severe.

Rarely, swollen lymph nodes may occur due to cancer, such as leukemia or lymphoma.

In addition to swollen lymph nodes or swollen glands in the neck, skin infections can also cause chin lumps. These abscesses and boils are reactions to infections that cause swelling and pus to accumulate.

Treatment

Not all infections will require treatment. Mild infections, such as the common cold, can improve Trusted Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Governmental authority Go to source  with at-home care or over-the-counter symptom relief.

However, more serious infections may require Trusted Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Governmental authority Go to source antibiotics or antiviral medication.

Treatment for boils and abscesses can include at-home care, clinical draining of the fluid buildup, or medication.

Benign growths

Sometimes, the body can develop lumps or bumps that are benign. This can happen if the skin or other tissues start to grow differently.

These lumps may include:

  • cysts
  • skin tags or moles
  • lipoma
  • benign tumors

Some of these lumps can be harmless Trusted Source JAMA Peer reviewed journal Go to source . However, some types, such as benign tumors, can become large enough to apply pressure on the surrounding tissue. This can cause pain or other complications, such as impaired function.

Additionally, some initially benign tumors can later become cancerous.

Treatment

Many benign growths may not require clinical treatment. However, your doctor may recommend treatment if the growth causes further symptoms, develops complications, or bothers you.

Treatment can include surgical removal or antibiotics to address any secondary bacterial infections.

Thyroid conditions

Swollen thyroid glands in the neck can cause lumps known as goiters. Goiters are typically not serious, but you should check them with a doctor.

The thyroid is a gland that produces hormones. Sometimes, it can become swollen due to bodily changes or thyroid conditions, such as:

The thyroid can also produce harmless lumps called nodules.

In rare cases, the thyroid can develop cancer.

Treatment

Doctors will work with you to diagnose your condition and recommend the most effective treatment.

Treatment options will aim to both alleviate symptoms and address the underlying cause. Treatment can include:

Cancer

Although it is relatively uncommon, some lumps under the chin or near the throat may occur due to cancer. This can result from cancer that affects different areas of the head and neck, such as:

  • throat
  • mouth
  • salivary glands
  • thyroid
  • blood
  • bones

Cancer affecting different areas of the head and neck may present symptoms such as:

  • lumps or swelling around the neck, mouth, or jaw
  • lumps that are persistent and otherwise unexplained
  • painful lumps
  • persistent or recurring sore throat or cough
  • difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • mouth ulcers
  • numbness or drooping in part of the face
  • sore and swollen lymph nodes
  • fatigue
  • being short of breath
  • unexplained weight loss
  • frequent infections

Learn more about the symptoms of leukemia and other blood cancers.

Treatment

The treatment plan your doctors suggest for you will depend on individual factors, such as the type and stage of cancer.

Common Trusted Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Governmental authority Go to source types of cancer treatments include:

Additional causes

There may be other explanations for lumps or swelling under the chin, including:

  • insect bites or stings
  • reactions to medications
  • acne
  • warts
  • salivary duct stones

When to seek medical help

Seek medical help for any lumps that occur without a clear cause, such as mild infection or injury. Additionally, contact your doctor for lumps that:

  • do not improve
  • are getting bigger
  • are painful, discolored, or hot to the touch
  • are present for 2 weeks or more
  • grow back after removal
  • appear swollen on the side of the neck and do not go down
  • accompany additional symptoms of illness

You may feel you know the cause of your lump. However, it is important not to self-diagnose your condition. A wide range of conditions can cause lumps, and they differ in severity and outlook.

A doctor can check signs that indicate the underlying cause or run tests to confirm a diagnosis. They may ask about your personal and family medical history and physically examine the lump or any other visible symptoms.

Tests that a doctor can perform or request from a specialist to diagnose lumps include:

Potential complications

Chin lumps may develop complications if they do not receive appropriate treatment where necessary.

Without effective treatment, lumps due to infection may lead to widespread infection and complications, such as sepsis or organ failure. These complications can be Trusted Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Governmental authority Go to source  life threatening.

Additionally, cancer can spread and impair bodily functions. Serious cases of cancer can also lead to death.

Seeking an early diagnosis after the first symptoms of a lump or illness can help increase the chances of a positive outlook.

Summary

There are many causes for lumps under the chin. Causes can range in severity and outlook, including mild conditions and ones that require more extensive medical care.

Causes of chin lumps include swollen lymph nodes after infection, benign tumors, thyroid conditions, and cancer.

The causes of lumps under the chin can vary, and treatment options depend on the underlying condition. However, some lumps may require medication, surgery, or no treatment at all.

Contact your doctor promptly for any new or recurring symptoms of lumps to receive a personal diagnosis.

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Medical Reviewer: Jenneh Rishe, RN
Last Review Date: 2022 Aug 15
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