Heberden's nodes (HNs) are bony enlargements of the finger joints that are readily detectable in a routine physical exam and are considered hallmarks of osteoarthritis. A new Arthritis & Rheumatology study found that the presence of HNs may also indicate structural damage associated with knee osteoarthritis.
In the study of 395 patients with HN and 188 without, there were significant associations between the presence of HN and imaging measures of knee osteoarthritis.
The authors noted that additional studies are needed to better understand the mechanisms behind the link between HN and knee osteoarthritis.
"The presence of Heberden's nodes in a physical examination is associated with a distinct pattern of worsening of osteoarthritis-related structural damage in the knee joint," said leading author Dr. Arya Haj-Mirzaian, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "These exploratory results have motivated us to initiate more focused investigations to further characterize the nodal osteoarthritis phenotype and tailor specific treatments for patients in future trials," added senior author Dr. Shadpour Demehri.