According to NCBI Bookshelf, shotty lymph nodes in the lower lateral areas of the abdomen are a normal phenomenon in adults. The firm but not fixed nodes, which are less than 1 centimeter in diameter, occur following the recurrent infection or trauma to the feet and legs.
As Lymphomation explains, shotty lymph nodes are the result of the immune system’s response to an infection. These do not necessarily indicate a specific complication.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the general basis for determining if lymph nodes are a cause for concern is size. As a rule of thumb, lymph nodes with a diameter greater than 1 centimeter are treated as abnormal. For instance, supraclavicular nodes are indicative of cancerous growth. Substantially bigger and tender nodes around the inguinal region are a sign of conditions that include syphilis, lymphogranuloma venereum and chancroid, according to "Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations."
In determining what presence of these lymph nodes might imply, a physician examines an affected site to identify the signs and symptoms of a possible infection or neoplasm, AAFP writes. A patient is also checked for elevated temperature, weight loss, night sweats or other symptoms that may imply cancerous development, collagen vascular diseases or tuberculosis. Occupational hazards also merit consideration.