The condition is more common in women than it is in men.
Erythema nodosum is most common on the shins. It may also occur on other areas of the body such as buttocks, calves, ankles, thighs, and arms.
The lesions begin as flat, firm, hot, red, painful lumps that are about an inch across. Within a few days, they may become purplish in color. Over several weeks, the lumps fade to a brownish, flat patch.
Other symptoms may include:
General ill feeling (malaise)
Skin redness, inflammation, or irritation
Swelling of the leg or other affected area
Exams and Tests
Your doctor can diagnose this condition by looking at your skin. Tests that may be done include:
Schwartz RA, Nervi SJ. Erythema nodosum: a sign of systemic disease. Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(5):695-700.
Richard J. Moskowitz, MD, Dermatologist in Private Practice, Mineola, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.