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Heberden and Bouchard nodules are degenerative changes in the joints of the fingers. Fortunately, they are the least bothersome form of osteoarthritis for the patient. Nevertheless, they should not be underestimated. What are the causes of Heberden's and Bouchard's nodules? What symptoms do they give? What is the treatment?

Heberden's nodulesandBouchard's nodulesare bone growths (osteophytes) on the finger joints . Heberden's nodulesdevelop in the distal interphalangeal joints (those near the nails), whileBouchard's nodulesin the vicinity of the proximal interphalangeal joints (in the center of the fingers).

Heberden nodulescan occur in people of all ages and are much more common thanBouchard nodules.The latter are usually diagnosed in people over 55, mainly in women.

Heberden and Bouchard nodules - causes

The immediate cause of the development of nodules within the joints is the imbalance between the formation and degradation of articular cartilage and the bone subcartilage layer. It is not known, however, what triggers this process.

It is supposed that the degenerative changes may be genetically determined. In addition, the formation of nodules may occur as a result of repeated tightening of the tendon attachments of the deep flexors of the fingers as a result of, for example, typing. In addition, osteophytes often appear in people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis or other rheumatic diseases. Therefore, these types of diseases are a high risk factor for the development of nodules, and vice versa - the degenerative process in the finger joints increases the likelihood of developing osteoarthritis in other, usually larger, joints of the body.

Heberden and Bouchard nodules - symptoms

Heberden's nodules are hard protrusions that appear on the dorsolateral surfaces of the fingers, adjacent to the distal interphalangeal joints. Bouchard's nodules are more irregular than Heberden's nodules and occur on the dorsolateral surfaces of the fingers, adjacent to the proximal interphalangeal joints.

Also, both Heberden's and Bouchard's nodules:

  • are usually located on the fingers of the right hand. They are not very dangerous, wunlike those that appear on the left hand (which happens very rarely), because - according to medical observations - the degree of advancement of degenerative changes is greater on the left hand
  • they most often appear in the area of ​​the index finger, less often the ring finger ( although they can appear in virtually any part of the hand);
  • often accompany degenerative changes at the base of bones and metacarpals;
  • can cause pain (by putting pressure on the nerves), but usually it does not develop (due to the low pressure on the joints and nerves);
  • they can sometimes limit the mobility of the joints, and thus the efficiency of the hands;

Heberden and Bouchard nodules - diagnosis

In order to make the diagnosis, an interview with the patient is carried out, as well as physical and imaging examinations (usually an X-ray of the hand and wrist is sufficient).

Heberden and Bouchard nodules - treatment

Once formed, Heberden and Bouchard nodules remain for life and usually do not require treatment. The exception is when the pain is very severe and when there is a feeling of stiffness in the joints of the fingers. In case of severe pain, local injection of corticosteroids is effective. It is also necessary to save your hand. Physical therapy can help.

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