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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"