Heberden's node
Heberden's nodes are hard or bony swellings that can develop in the distal interphalangeal joint
Distal interphalangeal joint
Distal interphalangeal joint can refer to:* Interphalangeal articulations of hand* Interphalangeal articulations of foot...

s (DIP) (the joints closest to the end of the fingers and toes). They are a sign of osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is a group of mechanical abnormalities involving degradation of joints, including articular cartilage and subchondral bone. Symptoms may include joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, locking, and sometimes an effusion...

 and are caused by formation of osteophytes (calcific spurs
Bone spur
Osteophytes, commonly referred to as bone spurs, are bony projections that form along joint margins. They should not be confused with enthesophytes, which are bony projections which form at the attachment of a tendon or ligament.-Pathophysiology:...

) of the articular (joint) cartilage
Cartilage is a flexible connective tissue found in many areas in the bodies of humans and other animals, including the joints between bones, the rib cage, the ear, the nose, the elbow, the knee, the ankle, the bronchial tubes and the intervertebral discs...

 in response to repeated trauma at the joint.

Heberden's nodes typically develop in middle age, beginning either with a chronic
Chronic (medicine)
A chronic disease is a disease or other human health condition that is persistent or long-lasting in nature. The term chronic is usually applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months. Common chronic diseases include asthma, cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS.In medicine, the...

 swelling of the affected joints or the sudden painful onset of redness, numbness, and loss of manual dexterity. This initial inflammation and pain eventually subsides, and the patient is left with a permanent bony outgrowth that often skews the fingertip sideways. Bouchard's nodes
Bouchard's nodes
Bouchard's nodes are hard, bony outgrowths or gelatinous cysts on the proximal interphalangeal joints They are a sign of osteoarthritis, and are caused by formation of calcific spurs of the articular cartilage....

 may also be present; these are similar bony growths in the proximal interphalangeal (PIP) joints (middle joints of the fingers), and are also associated with osteoarthritis.

Heberden's nodes are more common in women than in men, and there seems to be a genetic
Genetics , a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms....

 component involved in predisposition to the condition.

They are named after William Heberden
William Heberden
William Heberden , English physician, was born in London, where he received the early part of his education.At the end of 1724 he was sent to St John's College, Cambridge, where he obtained a fellowship, around 1730, became master of arts in 1732, and took the degree of MD in 1739...


External links

  • Diagram of Heberden's and Bouchard's nodes at WebMD
    WebMD is an American corporation which provides health information services. It was founded in 1996 by Jim Clark and Pavan Nigam as Healthscape, later Healtheon, and then acquired WebMD in 1999 to form Healtheon/WebMD...

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