Skin Diseases

Granuloma annulare Treatment

Developing unusual bumps and rashes can be both physically and emotionally uncomfortable. This is especially true if the flare-ups don’t seem to be related to an allergen or other easily identifiable trigger. If you have noticed an outbreak of red bumps and/or ring-shaped lesions on your hands, arms, and/or feet, you could be suffering from a condition called granuloma annulare.

If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t heard of granuloma annulare, but it’s a treatable condition that can be managed successfully with the right approach and support. IDI offers comprehensive diagnostic services for a variety of dermatological conditions, helping patients alleviate their symptoms and achieve healthy, clear skin.


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What is Granuloma Annulare?

Granuloma annulare is a condition that causes papules and lesions to form on the skin of the hands, legs, and feet. They are generally painless – though itchiness isn’t uncommon – but they are sometimes a sign of underlying medical concerns.

The papules are usually ring-shaped, with red and inflamed borders and sunken centers. They can also be small, firm, and thick bumps, which might be flesh-toned, yellow, or red.

There are five subcategories of granuloma annulare:

  • Localized Granuloma Annulare: The most common type of granuloma annulare. Round or half-moon-shaped lesions appear on a particular part of the body, typically on the hands, wrists, feet, or ankles. The lesions are usually small in number and confined to one area.
  • Generalized Granuloma Annulare: This form of granuloma annulare causes outbreaks that might appear throughout the entire body. The bumps tend to be smaller in size than what is seen in localized granuloma annulare, and they are more likely to cause itchiness and discomfort.
  • Linear Granuloma Annulare: An exceptionally rare form of granuloma annulare that causes isolated lesions on the fingers.
  • Perforating Granuloma Annulare: A rare form of granuloma annulare that causes an outbreak of fluid-filled pustules.
  • Subcutaneous Granuloma Annulare: A type of granuloma annulare mainly seen in young children. This type does not form rashes, but firm, small nodules underneath the skin. They are commonly found on the scalp and limbs.


The cause of granuloma annulare isn’t known, but it is a chronic condition that can be triggered by certain medications, insect or animal bites, and some types of skin injuries. It is also associated with some medical disorders, including hepatitis B (HBV) and hepatitis C (HCV), thyroid disease, and some types of cancer.

Granuloma Annulare Diagnosis

Diagnosis of granuloma annulare will involve a physical examination by a dermatologist, accompanied by a comprehensive medical history and a skin biopsy.

Granuloma Annulare Treatment

Granuloma annulare lesions typically disappear without medical intervention. However, in the event the lesions do not resolve for weeks or months after an outbreak, medical treatment is strongly advised.

The best treatment options will depend upon multiple factors, including:

  • Patient medical history, age, and general health
  • Severity of the condition
  • Patient lifestyle and treatment preferences


In general, granuloma annulare treatments involve the application of topical medications, including retinoids. Sometimes, anti-inflammatory medications like dapsone and corticosteroids are recommended.

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of granuloma annulare, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at IDI to schedule a comprehensive consultation.


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