Erythema nodosum or EN is an inflammation of the skin. The skin inflammation originates in the fatty layer of the skin matrix. It is characterized by the presence of painful (especially when pressed) and tender lumps or nodules that are reddish to purple red in color and sometimes bruise-like in appearance. Like bruises, when the bumps begin to disappear, the affected skin takes on a yellowish appearance. The lumps usually appear below the knees on the shins. Small numbers of bumps may be found on the thighs and forearms as well. The lumps vary in size and can be up to several inches in size, but typically are two inches or five centimetres or less. Note that flu-like symptoms such as joint pain and fever can accompany EN.
Women are more likely than men to acquire this skin condition and the most often age range affected is young adults. Specifically, women in the 15 to 30 years old range are the prime suffers of EN.
There are various other conditions closely associated with erythema nodosum. For example, this skin inflammation may appear in conjunction with fungal diseases, strep throat, inflammatory bowel disease, mononucleosis, tuberculosis, and other bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. There is also a link to the use of medications such as birth control pills and the sulfa family of drugs.
Treatment of this condition usually involves treating the other underlying conditions that may be causing it. Specific treatments for this skin inflammation problem include: oral cortisone pills, cortisone injections, potassium iodide pills, antibiotics, or the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatories.
Relief can also be obtained temporarily by staying off your feet. This means bed rest, elevating the legs, and use of compression bandages, all of which act to reduce and not promote more inflammation of the skin and aggravation of the condition. In some cases, the skin inflammation will resolve on its own without treatment, but this may take several weeks.