Heberden’s Nodes are hard, bony swellings that appear on the joints in the toes and interphalangeal joints of the fingers. The condition is usually a sign of osteoarthritis or hypertrophic arthritis.
People with Heberden’s Nodes usually notice chronic swelling of the joints in the fingers or toes, usually beginning at middle age. Sometimes the swelling is accompanied by a sudden onset of numbness or redness coupled with the loss of movement. When the painful inflammation subsides, a permanent bony protrusion is left behind. The bony bumps are often painless, but they can limit motion of the joint.
When the bump is located on the joint closest to the nail, it is called a Heberden’s node. When it’s on the middle joint of the finger, it’s called a Bouchard’s node.
Heberden’s Nodes are caused be calcific spurs called osteophytes that grown on the articular cartilage in response to repeated injury or trauma at the joint. Heberden’s Nodes are generally a sign of osteoarthritis or hypertrophic arthritis and they appear more often in women than in men.
Though it hasn’t been confirmed, it’s possible that Heberden’s Nodes are genetic.
Unfortunately, Heberden’s nodes are permanent once they form. However, the initial inflammation that arises when each nodal forms can be decreased with anti-inflammatory medication.
Preventative steps can be taken to reduce your chance of developing osteoarthritis, including maintaining a healthy weight, living a healthy lifestyle complete with frequent physical activity, protecting injured joints and avoiding repetitive motions.