Heberden’s and Bouchard’s Nodes

Bony bumps on the finger joint closest to the fingernail are called Heberden’s nodes. Bony bumps on the middle joint of the finger are known as Bouchard’s nodes.
Bony bumps are also common at the base of the thumb. These bumps do not have a nickname, but the joint is called the CMC or carpometacarpal joint. The name comes from the bone of the wrist (carpal) and the bone of the thumb (metacarpal).

A very common early sign of osteoarthritis is a knobby bony deformity at the smallest joint of the end of the fingers. This is referred to as a Heberden’s node, named after a very famous British doctor. The bony deformity is a result of the bone spurs from the osteoarthritis in that joint. Another common bony knob (node) occurs at the middle joint of the fingers in many patients with osteoarthritis and is called a Bouchard’s node. Dr. Bouchard was a famous French doctor who also studied arthritis patients at the turn of the last century. The Heberden’s and Bouchard’s nodes may not be painful, but they are often associated with limitation of motion of the joint. The characteristic appearances of these finger nodes can be helpful in diagnosing osteoarthritis.

Finally, when arthritis symptoms persist, it is best to seek the advice of a doctor who can properly guide the optimal management for each individual patient.

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