Vascular, Lymphatic and Systemic Conditions

Picture of Erythema Nodosum

Picture of Erythema Nodosum

Erythema nodosum is a condition in which the layer of subcutaneous adipose (fat) tissue becomes inflamed. Affected individuals have reddish nodules (lumps) on the shins, arms, or other areas. The nodules are painful.

Erythema nodosum may be caused by infections including cat scratch disease, fungal infections, strep throat, and infectious mononucleosis. Behcet's disease, sarcoidosis, pregnancy, inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis), and side effects of certain medications (estrogen, birth control pills, iodides and bromides, sulfa-containing drugs) may also be to blame.

The condition may resolve spontaneously in 3 to 6 weeks. If treatment is necessary, addressing the underlying cause of the condition and treating erythema nodosum directly with anti-inflammatory drugs and oral or injectable steroids (cortisone) may help. Colchicine may help reduce inflammation associated with erythema nodosum.

Image Source: Color Atlas & Synopsis of Pediatric Dermatology Kay Shou-Mei Kane, Jen Bissonette Ryder, Richard Allen Johnson, Howard P. Baden, Alexander Stratigos Copyright 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies. All rights reserved.

Text Reference: American Family Physician: “Erythema nodosum: a sign of systemic disease”