Erythema Nodosum

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

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Can erythema nodosum be confused with other conditions?

The nodules of erythema nodosum are sometimes confused with insect bites. Sometimes the inflammation of erythema nodosum is more widespread and can mimic skin infection (cellulitis).

How is erythema nodosum treated?

Erythema nodosum is initially managed by identifying and treating any underlying condition present. Simultaneously, treatment is directed toward the inflamed skin from the erythema nodosum.

Treatments for erythema nodosum include anti-inflammatory drugs, and corticosteroids by mouth or local injection. Colchicine is sometimes used to reduce inflammation. Treatment must be customized for the particular patient and conditions present, such as the existence of any associated diseases. It is important to note that erythema nodosum, while annoying and often painful, does not threaten internal organs and the long-term outlook is generally very good.

Medically reviewed by Norman Levine, MD; American Board of Dermatology

REFERENCES:

Koopman, William, et al., eds. Clinical Primer of Rheumatology. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2003.

Ruddy, Shaun, et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: W.B. Saunders, 2001.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/9/2016

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