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Erythema nodosum

Erythema nodosum is swollen fat under the skin causing red bumps and patches. It usually goes away by itself but it can be a sign of something serious.

Check if you've got erythema nodosum

Erythema nodosum bumps on the shins

You may also have flu-like symptoms, such as:

If you're not sure it's erythema nodosum

Check other types of lumps.

How you can ease the pain yourself

The bumps and patches last about two weeks before fading like a bruise.

They usually heal completely on their own within six weeks without leaving a scar.

A pharmacist can help with erythema nodosum

If you're in pain, your pharmacist can recommend:

Your pharmacist may also suggest you see your GP.

Non-urgent advice: See a GP if:

  • the pain is affecting your daily life
  • lots of bumps and patches start appearing
  • the bumps don't go away

Treatment from a GP

Your GP should be able to tell if you have erythema nodosum by looking at your bumps and patches.

If your GP thinks your medication might be causing your erythema nodosum, you may be advised to stop taking it. Don't stop taking your medication without asking your GP first.

You GP might suggest some tests if your erythema nodosum:

Causes of erythema nodosum

Erythema nodosum can be caused by lots of things but often the cause is not known.

Common causes include: