Medical Student IDs Tender Nodules With VisualDx

A student at McMaster University in Canada shares how they used VisualDx to correctly identify a patient’s tender nodules:

I saw a young female patient with these tender nodules on the legs, and knew it was familiar but did not recall what they were. VisualDx helped me realize they were panniculitis, and specifically erythema nodosum!

What is erythema nodosum?

Erythema nodosum is a skin condition characterized by the sudden eruption of tender nodules and papules, particularly on the shins. It represents inflammation of the adipose tissue. Erythema nodosum often occurs as an isolated skin finding, or it may be associated with certain medications, infections, or underlying medical conditions.

What should we be aware of when making a diagnosis?

The presence of nodules in sites other than the legs, ulceration, or scarring should prompt skin biopsy, tissue culture, and laboratory investigation of other etiologies of panniculitis.

How can we treat this?

The mainstay of treatment for erythema nodosum, aside from identifying and removing / treating the cause, is symptomatic. Rest, elevation, compression, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, colchicine, and, for persistent cases, potassium iodide can be considered.

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