Erythema nodosum

Very painful skin condition which occurs particularly in young adults, equally in men and women. Purplish-red patches appear on the skin; they are very painful, somewhat swollen and warm to the touch, and between 1 and 5 cm in diameter. They are usually on the front of the lower leg, but occasionally on the upper part of the leg or even the arms. The patient usually has slight fever. Blood tests show little abnormality. At one time a tubercular centre in the lung was found to be a cause, but since TB has been all but eradicated this is no longer the case. Today most sufferers have signs of sarcoidosis. Since both conditions show on an X-ray, a lung photograph may be necessary in the case of erythema nodosum. There are, however, many other possible causes, which remain unknown in approximately half the cases. Treatment is not necessary because the condition disappears spontaneously within a few weeks.

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