How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Dr. Nair Your Own Question

Dr. Nair
Dr. Nair, Dermatologist
Category: Dermatology
Satisfied Customers: 8030
Experience:  MBBS, MD (Dermatology, Venereology & Leprology)
Type Your Dermatology Question Here...
Dr. Nair is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Ive a tender bump on the front of my lower leg

Resolved Question:

I've had a tender bump on the front of my lower leg just left (outside) of the shin bone for approximately 3 weeks. I first noticed it in bed when moving my leg against the sheet (I felt a little tenderness when rubbing the leg against the sheet). I looked at my leg and noticed a bump a quarter inch or so in size in the spot I described. It seemed to just show up out of the blue. It wasn't red, itchy or warm but it was a little tender/painful when I pressed on it. I had virtually the same type of bump about 4 and 1/2 months ago in the same spot -- lower front leg near shin on the outside of the shin. I thought it was on the same leg then too (left leg) but I checked an old note sheet from that time and I had written that it was on the right lower leg near shin. So, I'm confused now. I'm not sure which leg it was on 4 and 1/2 months ago. I do know I don't have any bumps in this area on the right leg today. At that time, I thought it might have been a bug bite because I remember getting bit in the lower leg while sitting at a table on my backyard deck a couple days before noticing the bump. When I felt the bite, it hurt more than a typical mosquito bite. I tried to slap the bug on my leg but never saw any bug (mosquito, spider, whatever). I don't know if that first bump had anything to do with a bug bite or not. The first bump, 4 and 1/2 months ago, seemed to go away in about three weeks. I used a hot wash cloth compress a couple times a day, some topical Neosporin, and a salve mixture of powdered Vitamin C and liquid Vitamin E (and some hot baths). I've done the same thing this time only not as religiously-- i.e., off and on treating it with a hot wash cloth and Neosporin or Aloe Vera gel or Vit C and E salve and then nothing for a couple days. One day I put hyrocortisone cream on it but never followed up with that because I didn't know if that made any sense or not. This time I think I irritated it pretty good and that's why it's lingering. Here's how I irritated it: I read something on the Internet where this could be a "muscle knot" or "muscle spasm" and if you pressure it, it might dissipate. Well, it felt kind of like a tight muscle knot so I pressed really hard on it for several minutes one day. That succeeded in making it more sore, flattened the bump some, made the area red and more painful and a couple hours later I noticed some pretty good swelling in that area. A couple hours after that the swelling was down again and a day or two later the redness was basically gone. So, I must have caused some inflammation. Needless to say, I haven't put any heavy finger pressure on it since and the symptoms have been much better. That was 10-14 days ago. Since then I've just treated it off and on with the hot wash cloth and sometimes Neosporin, sometimes Aloe Vera gel. At any rate, it's been much better since the day I put the finger pressure on the bump. Since the day I first noticed it approximately three weeks ago, I would say it's a little less tender upon pushing on it slightly and the bump seems a tad flatter (which happened after I put the heavy finger pressure on it). The only time the symptoms got worse was the day when I put a lot of pressure on it. Otherwise, I would say the symptoms are slightly better than three weeks ago -- but there is still a bump there and it is still a little tender/painful when pushing on it a little. The tenderness/pain isn't bad at all, only if I push on the bump or bump it. Since the day I pushed hard on the bump, it seems flatter and a tad wider. Healthwise, I feel fine, same energy; same activities. I have been jogging 5-6 days a week, etc. It doesn't really seem like a bug bite. I'm guessing it could be an obstructed sweat gland or hair duct or something. Maybe the obstructed sweat gland or hair duct got infected a little. Or maybe it's a cyst that got traumatized a little and flared up... (sebaceous or epidermoid cyst?) I thought it might be Erythema Nodosum because those bumps tend to be on the front of the shins but most descriptions of that say the bumps are reddish and then after a couple weeks it looks like a bruise (purplish). Also, That's not the case for me. It seems to be better (bump seems a little smaller and flatter and less tender/painful) on the days I wash it regularly and use a hot wash cloth compress a couple times a day. I've just been lazy about doing that regularly because I've been thinking it's about gone. I washed it and then put a hot wash cloth on it again this morning and it seems to feel better (flatter and less tender to the touch. Based on the fact it went away last time following this regime, it probably would improve more quickly if I used warm/hot compresses two or three times a day for a week or so, and maybe aloe vera gel, Neosporin, VitC/VitE salve or hyrocortisone cream after the compress ... At any rate, thank you for your thoughts
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dermatology
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Dr. Nair,

Here are five photos of my leg. I hope they work for you:

http://picasaweb.google.com/107053320031272120572/LegPhotos?authkey=Gv1sRgCPak5sTItdX-MA&feat=directlink
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Dr. Nair,

I changed my privacy settings on picasa to open to "anybody on the web" from "only those with the link." Maybe that will help. I have a Mac and so I use Safari. You said Safari doesn't have the tree icon. So, I used Internet Explorer and I don't see a tree icon there either. You say there's a tree icon near the "question box" Do you mean the "Reply to Expert" box?

At any rate, here's the new link for picasa. Hope it works. Please note, that the bump on my leg looks more red than usual in these photos. I took them about an hour after 15 minutes of a very hot heating pad application. I've never done that before. I've just used a very warm wet wash cloth for a few minutes as a compress before. The redness is down this morning. I've added three photos from this morning on picasa: Leg Photo 6, Leg Photo 7 and Leg Photo 8. Here's the link:
http://picasaweb.google.com/107053320031272120572/LegPhotos#
Expert:  Dr. Nair replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for the photographs. Its hard to comment without actually feeling the lesion but my first possibility would be an irritated sebaceous cyst. A follicular cyst is the second possibility. Both of these will not subside on their own but are harmless and can be left alone. Treatment involves removal through a small nick.

I'd be happy to answer any further queries you may have. Regards.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you Dr. Nair. A couple questions: 1) What do you mean by "removal by a small nick"? 2) I had basically the same thing on my lower leg about 4 and 1/2 months ago and it appeared to disappear completely after 3 weeks or so. However, in that case, I didn't irritate it by using heavy finger pressure on the bump, or by putting a very hot heating pad on it. I think those two things have made this bump linger. Isn't it possible that if I don't irritate this and give it mild, basic treatment (like keeping it clean, applying a warm wash cloth occasionally, and maybe a Vitamin E/Vitamin C ointment) that it will subside and go away? I read some about sebaceous cysts on the Internet and saw an article that said that a warm compress can help the material in the cyst break away and be absorbed by the body 3) Do you think factors like stress, diet and hygeine could be factors in these types of cysts/irritations? I have been under a lot of stress lately (lost my job), my diet hasn't been the greatest and although I shower regularly, I have to admit that I don't use soap and a wash cloth on my lower legs on anything close to a regular basis. I've had boils before and found them connected to stress, diet and hygeine ... Thank you for your thoughts.
Expert:  Dr. Nair replied 3 years ago.

You're most welcome. I'll address your questions one by one:

1) What do you mean by "removal by a small nick"?

Ans. This is a small surgical incision about half an inch in length through which the cyst is removed intact.

2) I had basically the same thing on my lower leg about 4 and 1/2 months ago and it appeared to disappear completely after 3 weeks or so. However, in that case, I didn't irritate it by using heavy finger pressure on the bump, or by putting a very hot heating pad on it. I think those two things have made this bump linger. Isn't it possible that if I don't irritate this and give it mild, basic treatment (like keeping it clean, applying a warm wash cloth occasionally, and maybe a Vitamin E/Vitamin C ointment) that it will subside and go away?

Ans. Yes I was going to suggest this - that is if the bump subsides on its own then its unlikely to be a cyst and could be something like infection of the hair follicle. You could apply an OTC antibacterial cream like Bacitracin ointment over the bump for 14-21 days and see if that helps.

I read some about sebaceous cysts on the Internet and saw an article that said that a warm compress can help the material in the cyst break away and be absorbed by the body

Ans. Occasionally sebaceous cysts can resolve on their own. More often they persist. Warm compresses have no role to play in the resolution though.

3) Do you think factors like stress, diet and hygiene could be factors in these types of cysts/irritations? I have been under a lot of stress lately (lost my job), my diet hasn't been the greatest and although I shower regularly, I have to admit that I don't use soap and a wash cloth on my lower legs on anything close to a regular basis. I've had boils before and found them connected to stress, diet and hygiene

Ans. Yes boils can be related to hygiene and stress but boils are pretty obvious things and you would know it from the pain on touching it and it would be quite warm as compared to the normal skin. Cysts on the other hand are not related to the factors you mentioned.

Hope this helps!

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Dr. Nair,

Any thought as to why when I put heavy finger pressure on this cyst/follicular infection that it got worse (more tender/painful, more red, more swelling, etc.) and then when I stopped that it improved? Was that probably due to irritation and inflammation from the pressure on the bump?

Also, the one day I put a hot heating pad on it for 15 minutes or so, it got more red in a circular area around the bump and the bump might've got a little bigger as well. When I stopped this, it got better too. Could this have been from irritation or inflammation from the hot pad? When I just use a warm wash cloth for a few minutes I don't get this reaction (that I did from the hot heating pad for 15 minutes).

Thanks again. I think I'm done with questions. I think I'll just use gentle treatment for two or three weeks. That worked last time. Take care.
Expert:  Dr. Nair replied 3 years ago.

Morning,

Any thought as to why when I put heavy finger pressure on this cyst/follicular infection that it got worse (more tender/painful, more red, more swelling, etc.) and then when I stopped that it improved?

Ans. This is common with cysts as they tend to get irritated by manipulation or external pressure. The same thing can happen with an infection.

Also, the one day I put a hot heating pad on it for 15 minutes or so, it got more red in a circular area around the bump and the bump might've got a little bigger as well. When I stopped this, it got better too. Could this have been from irritation or inflammation from the hot pad? When I just use a warm wash cloth for a few minutes I don't get this reaction (that I did from the hot heating pad for 15 minutes).

Ans. The increase in redness is due to increase in local blood supply as heat causes vasodilation - that i increase in the size of the blood vessels temporarily. A heating pad would cause this much more than just a warm wash cloth.

Dr. Nair, Dermatologist
Category: Dermatology
Satisfied Customers: 8030
Experience: MBBS, MD (Dermatology, Venereology & Leprology)
Dr. Nair and other Dermatology Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I feel so much better today, and upon further investigation believe that there is a chance that the responses I got saved me from a serious, even life threatening situation. I am very grateful to the experts who answered me. Susan O. USA
< Last | Next >
  • I feel so much better today, and upon further investigation believe that there is a chance that the responses I got saved me from a serious, even life threatening situation. I am very grateful to the experts who answered me. Susan O. USA
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • dermdoc19

    Dermatologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3474
    30 years practice in general and cosmetic dermatology
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dermdoc19/2010-09-30_160749_Photo_122807_015.JPG dermdoc19's Avatar

    dermdoc19

    Dermatologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3474
    30 years practice in general and cosmetic dermatology
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AX/axedoc2010/2012-4-9_193033_DSC96671.64x64.JPG Dr. Nair's Avatar

    Dr. Nair

    Dermatologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    7176
    MBBS, MD (Dermatology, Venereology & Leprology)
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.shahzad/2013-5-28_122559_IMG2564.64x64.JPG Dr. Shahz's Avatar

    Dr. Shahz

    Dermatologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    243
    MBBS, MCPS, MD
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/tcsatish/2009-4-14_221547_satish_pp.jpg Dr. Skinner's Avatar

    Dr. Skinner

    Dermatologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1548
    MD , DNB ( D &V), FAAD
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/drhanish/2008-8-5_71640_drhanish.jpg Dr. Hanish Babu, MD's Avatar

    Dr. Hanish Babu, MD

    Dermatologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    261
    MBBS; MD 26 years Experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrVenkat/2013-11-1_14129_profile.64x64.jpg Dr. S. Attili's Avatar

    Dr. S. Attili

    Dermatologist & Dermatopathologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    4121
    MRCP (Dermatology), Int. Board Certification in Dermatopathology
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/SK/skindoctor2000/HCM2.64x64.jpg Dr. Pravin's Avatar

    Dr. Pravin

    Dermatologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    692
    Senior Consultant MBBS DNB (DVD)
 
 
 

Related Dermatology Questions