Rheumatoid nodules are firm lumps, ranging in size, that sometimes form near joints that rheumatoid arthritis has affected, states WebMD. They often manifest in elbows, knuckles, fingers and hands.
Some rheumatoid nodules are connected to tendons or fascia and are stationary; others may move around under the skin, according to WebMD. While most people with RA do not experience problems with rheumatoid nodules, some patients find them painful. Since they can limit range of movement and put pressure on nerves, they may make daily activities difficult.
Rheumatoid nodules are most likely to present in those experiencing severe RA and who have the rheumatoid factor, an immune system chemical, explains WebMD. Smoking cigarettes and taking certain medications may increase the likelihood of nodules forming.