How Can I Get Rid of Heberden's Nodes?

  • 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 Author: 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.

Ask the experts

I have had arthritis in my hands for several years, in addition to Heberden's nodes. Some of the nodes are constantly very painful and water blisters have begun forming on the nodes. What can I do?

Doctor's response

Heberden's nodes are bony prominences that occur at the smallest joint at the end of the fingers. They develop as a result of inflammation that occurs in the bone under adjacent cartilage that has wear from degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis). They can become inflamed at times and be painful. Sometimes a tiny fluid-filled cyst, called a ganglion, forms adjacent to the involved joint.

To reduce inflammation, sometimes anti-inflammatory medications can be of help. If a cyst has formed at the joint, it can require an evaluation by a hand surgeon to consider surgical removal. You should discuss the best options for you with your doctor.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


"Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of osteoarthritis"

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Reviewed on 6/9/2017