Patient Comments: Erythema Nodosum - Experience

Please describe your experience with erythema nodosum.

Comment from: AndysGirl, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: December 12

Three years ago, I noticed what I thought was a spider bite on my shin. It was hot, dry, and painful. Not long after, I slipped on my basement stairs and broke a toe, and I forgot all about the sore. The “bite” kept getting worse and worse, and my doctor could not figure out what was going on. I developed severe cellulitis, and my lower left leg and foot swelled up hideously. I was on crutches for three weeks, and every time I put my leg below the level of my hips, the blood rushing to it would cause me immense pain. When I visited my mother-in-law's doctor, he took one glance at it and said "Erythema nodosum! Here's what you need ..." I got a prescription for steroids and antibiotics, and within two weeks, I was nearly back to normal.

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Comment from: eddieg, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: December 12

I am a 36-year-old male. About two weeks ago, I had to be taken to the emergency room because my ankles were swollen so badly. The pain was so bad that I went into the ER. It was there the ER doctors told me that I had erythema nodosum. It has been three weeks since then and my ankles are so swollen that I can barely get my shoes on. The only thing that seems to help is lying down and ibuprofen. I have several red bumps on both legs, and I keep getting new painful bumps still after three weeks. My doctor states that this should go away on its own. I can barely even walk because of the pain.

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Comment from: End EN, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: December 04

After strep throat in October of this year and having completed a round of antibiotics, my fever returned, though not as high as before. Within a few days, lumps appeared on my upper left thigh and near the hip joint on the left leg. They were very painful, tiring and wouldn't go away. My preferred physician thought it was erythema nodosum and confirmed it through a referral to an infectious disease doctor. I am currently on an anti-inflammatory, but the pain is sometimes excruciating and prevents me from standing or walking. The doctor said it may be as long as three weeks before the pain and swelling subside. If they do not, then the next step is to go to a rheumatologist.

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Comment from: crdalton, 35-44 Male (Patient) Published: December 04

I have been dealing with erythema nodosum for 14 years now. It started in the lower part of my legs and has moved progressively into other parts of my body. The inflammation and pain becomes unbearable sometimes. I have consistently taken prednisone for several years now. It appears to be the only thing that relieves the pain.

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Comment from: Jo Jo, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 04

On a cool day in March, my legs began to feel funny, like they were cool but burning at the same time. I thought maybe I needed more exercise, so started walking. As the days went on, I noticed a small lump by my ankle, then another just above. They hurt to the touch. Finally, the whole leg started to swell and grew large. Then the leg turned bright red, and this continued halfway up the leg. I got scared because I thought they were going to amputate my leg. I went to 17 doctors, and not one of them knew what was wrong. It felt like knives stabbing up and down the leg to the point of crying from pain. Finally, one doctor diagnosed it: Erythema Nodosum. He gave me some cortisone, and the swelling went down a bit. This leg was swollen and painful for almost two years straight with no relief. Finally, it started to calm down, but to this day, I still can't wear a pair of shoes. I am wearing sandals that don't touch the top of my foot.

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Comment from: Lynn, 7-12 Male (Caregiver) Published: November 19

My 11-year-old son had an extreme case of strep throat about six weeks ago. He was put on a strong dose of penicillin, and monitored closely by the doctor. About two weeks later, while still not well, he came down with a very nasty stomach bug that was going around. Although still not feeling 100% and losing weight, he went back to school two weeks later. When I picked him up from the bus later that day, I noticed that he was walking very slowly and that he had red spots all over his legs and what looked like several bruises as well. I took him straight back to the doctor's, and he diagnosed my son with erythema nodosum. The poor boy is off school another two weeks, and although he seems well in himself, he finds it very difficult to walk and often cries with pain. He also tires very quickly and sleeps a lot. The spots are clearing slowly, so here's hoping that my little boy will be up and playing with his brother again soon.

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Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 19

I am just getting over my third attack of erythema nodosum (EN). All three occasions have followed a nasty throat virus. The first attack was in 1984, the second in 1996, and the third just recently. The first time I had painful red lumps on both lower legs, the second on one leg and this time is occurred mainly on one leg but with some isolated lumps on the other leg. On all three occasions, I was unable to walk: The pain was unbearable. The second time I had it, I was told to take a double dose of soluble aspirin three times a day for the swelling and the pain. This time, I was prescribed a steroid medication as a last resort. No one seems to know much about this disorder. It's been three weeks later and I am now left with a swollen ankle. It is uncomfortable to stand or walk for long periods of time.

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