Erythema Nodosum

Erythema nodosum is a condition of the skin which is characterized by sudden eruption of red, tender bumps especially on the shins. It occurs when there is inflammation in the deeper portions of the skin like the adipose or the fatty layer of the skin. It can occur in conjunction with other underlying medical conditions or it can be an isolated finding.

Who’s At Risk?

Erythema Nodosum

Erythema nodosum can occur in any person irrespective of age, sex, and ethnicity.

Erythema nodosum can occur in any person irrespective of age, sex, and ethnicity. However, it is seen that young adults are particularly more prone to developing erythema nodosum and women are at least 4 times more likely than men to develop it. About 30–50% of cases of erythema nodosum do not have any underlying medical cause. However, in rest of the cases, an underlying medical condition, infection may be found in the remainder of cases.

Certain medications also trigger the occurrence of Erythema Nodosum. They include Birth control pills, Estrogen pills, antibiotics such as sulfonamides or penicillin, etc. Also, if one is suffering from conditions like inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease), sarcoidosis, lymphoma or leukemia, tuberculosis, intestinal infection, etc., then the risk of developing erythema nodosum may increase.

Signs and Symptoms:

The occurrence of erythema nodosum is commonly seen on shins, ankles, thighs, forearms, face and neck. It might appear as one or more reddish, warm and painful lumps or nodules ranging in the size of 1 to 10 cm.

At the start of erythema nodosum, a person might experience fever, general achiness in the body, leg swelling, or joint pain.

Individual bumps of erythema nodosum typically lasts from 1–2 weeks, but new lesions may keep appearing for up to 6 weeks. Even after the individual lesions of erythema nodosum has resolved, it may leave behind a temporary bruise, which will eventual fade over some time to normal-looking skin.

Self-Care Guidelines:

In many cases the occurrence of erythema nodosum is associated with an underlying infection or medical condition. Hence, it is important to seek medical attention to rule out any such eventuality. Meanwhile you can take care of your skin by taking the following self-care measures:.

  • Take adequate rest and restrict physical activity.
  • Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Elevate your legs in case they are affected.
  • Apply cool or warm compresses.
  • Wear firm and supportive stockings or bandages

It is seen that people with erythema nodosum do quite well once their underlying medical condition has been diagnosed and treated.

Your doctor might need you to undergo some tests in order to diagnose your condition properly and accordingly suggest medications and treatment. Meanwhile, he might prescribe you anti-inflammatory pills, or steroids for the lesions.


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