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What is erythema nodosum, and why do red nodes often appear on the surface of the lower leg?

A disease such as erythema nodosum, or erythema nodosum, is familiar to a large number of people, and most often it occurs in the fair sex. With this disease, an inflammatory process of the vessels of the dermis and subcutaneous fatty tissue of an allergic or granulomatous nature is actively proceeding in the body.

Outwardly, it is manifested by the formation of painful red nodes, mainly on the surface of the lower leg.

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Types and forms of erythema nodosum

What is erythema nodosum, and why do red nodes often appear on the surface of the lower leg?

Like most other diseases, erythema nodosum in adults and children can occur in an acute or sluggish chronic form. Acute erythema occurs against the background of general malaise or fever. With this disease, on the anterior or lateral surface of the lower leg, as well as the ankle and knee joints, multiple, rapidly developing dermohypodermal nodes appear, which have an oval shape and a hemispherical shape. These formations are slightly raised above the surrounding skin and are very painful to palpation.


In the chronic form of this ailment, knots on the skin can always be seen, however, they can be quite blurred and painless. In the case of a decrease in immunity for various reasons, an exacerbation of the disease occurs, in which the size of the rash increases significantly, and when you touch them, unpleasant and rather intense painful sensations arise.

In this case, the chronic form of the disease can be migratory in nature, in which the nodes are constantly moving from place to place and do not have clear boundaries, or superficially infiltrative, when they are initially localized on a rather large area of ​​open skin. An exacerbation of the disease is almost always accompanied by fever, swelling of the skin and joints, as well as changes in blood counts, in particular, an increase in ESR.

Causes of erythema nodosum in adults and children

There are a lot of reasons that can provoke this disease, in particular:

  • lymphogranuloma venereum or lymphogranulomatosis;
  • primary and secondary variant of tuberculosis;
  • in children, this ailment almost always develops after a sore throat or scarlet fever, as well as any severe colds;
  • hierseniasis, leprosy;
  • histoplasmosis, sarcoidosis, coccidioidosis;
  • ulcerative colitis, nonspecifica;
  • in women - long-term use of oral contraceptives;
  • leukemia or hypernephroid cancer;
  • allergic reactions due to individual intolerance to the components of certain drugs, for example, sulfonamides, as well as bromine or iodine preparations.

Erythema nodosum symptoms

The main sign of the development of erythema nodosum of the upper or lower extremities is the formation of pronounced nodes and soft plaques .

In addition, this disease is also characterized by the presence of the following symptoms:

What is erythema nodosum, and why do red nodes often appear on the surface of the lower leg?
  • weakness and general malaise;
  • an increase in body temperature, but in most cases not higher than 38 degrees;
  • fever and chills;
  • episcleral eruptions;
  • arthralgia;
  • adenopathy of hilar lymph nodes of the lungs;
  • various gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea or persistent constipation;
  • pain and discomfort in bones, muscles and joints;
  • heavy bruising on the legs and other areas of the body that is slightly raised above the surrounding skin and painful to touch.

Diagnosis and treatment of erythema nodosum

In the vast majority of cases, a qualified dermatologist can diagnose erythema nodosum solely on the basis of an internal examination and clinical manifestations of the disease. Meanwhile, in order to determine the correct treatment tactics, it is necessary to identify the true cause that provoked this ailment.

For this, diagnostics are carried out using the following methods:

  • taking a general blood test and determining the level of ESR and leukocyte count;
  • biopsy;
  • various skin tests;
  • bacteriological analysis of throat swab;
  • chest x-ray;
  • skin test for the presence or absence of microbacteria.

Treatment of erythema nodosum of both the lower and upper extremities must be comprehensive.

As a rule, it includes the following activities:

What is erythema nodosum, and why do red nodes often appear on the surface of the lower leg?
  • treatment and sanitation of foci of infection;
  • bed rest and fixation of the lower limbs in an elevated position;
  • various physiotherapy procedures - UHF, UFO and others;
  • in some cases - a course of magnetotherapy, laser or ultrasound therapy, inductothermy;
  • different number of phonophoresis sessions with hydrocortisone applied to the affected joints or inflamed nodes;
  • cool compresses;
  • dry heat;
  • course administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

A sick person, especially if it is a small child, must adhere to p.ogy bed rest.

In most cases, only NSAIDs are sufficient to relieve inflammation, however, in some situations, depending on the general condition of the patient and the reasons that provoked the disease, other medications may be prescribed, in particular:

  • antibiotics, for example, Penicillin, Erythromycin, Zeporin, Doxycycline, Kekzol;
  • Potassium iodide for the fastest possible relief from the inflammatory process;
  • vitamins, especially C, B and PP;
  • Routine and Ascorutin ;
  • salicylates, including Aspirin and Ascophen ;
  • desensitizing drugs;
  • angioprotectors;
  • anticoagulants, eg Heparin .

In general, getting rid of erythema nodosum is not at all difficult, however, you should not self-medicate. When the first signs of the disease are detected, it is necessary to consult a qualified doctor as soon as possible and strictly follow all his recommendations in order to prevent the transition of the disease into a chronic form.

Unfortunately, erythema nodosum quite often occurs in pregnant women while waiting for a baby due to a significant decrease in immunity.

What is erythema nodosum, and why do red nodes often appear on the surface of the lower leg?

At the same time, the treatment of expectant mothers is complicated by the fact that most of the drugs intended to combat this disease are not used during pregnancy, since their use can extremely adversely affect the health and life of an unborn child.


Nevertheless, modern medicine today offers many different effective and safe ways and techniques to get rid of erythema nodosum, including in expectant mothers.

If you care about your health, do not postpone your visit to the doctor, because only timely seeking medical help will allow you to examine your body and avoid the severe consequences of certain diseases.

Skin Disorders, and Skin Cancer [USMLE]

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