What is it?

Erythema Nodosum is an inflammation of the fatty layer of the skin. This inflammation causes the skin to become red, painful, and tender. Erythema nodosum is typically seen on the shins, below the knees. Also, typical lumps are inflamed and these may come and go for several weeks until they shrink and become flat. This condition goes away on its own after 6 weeks, leaving a bruised appearance on the skin. Erythema nodosum can appear on its own, or with other medical conditions such as strep throat, cat scratch disease, fungal disease, infectious mononucleosis, sarcoidosis, Behcet's disease, inflammatory bowel diseases and pregnancy. Some medications can cause erythema nodosum as well such as birth control pills and sulfa related drugs.

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Signs & symptoms

Erythema nodosum symptoms include painful swollen red or purple bumps, most commonly on the shins. Other symptoms may include fever, fatigue, joint pain, leg pain, ankle swelling, cough, sore throat, weight loss, stomach pain and diarrhea.


Erythema nodosum is diagnosed on a physical examination. To confirm the diagnosis, a skin biopsy is done.


Erythema nodosum is treated with anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone. Colchicine is also used to relieve inflammation. If there is an underlying cause it is treated as well.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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