It is possible that disease-modifying, anti-rheumatic drugs may reduce the size of an arthritic nodule, but not all patients experience this, according to WebMD. Some of these drugs, such as methotrexate, may cause more nodules, so patients are advised to work with doctors to determine the pros and cons.
Steroid injections may help to shrink nodules on the hand, states WebMD. If arthritic nodules become infected or painful, surgery may be done to remove the nodule. Most people who develop arthritic nodules have severe arthritis. Almost all sufferers of these nodules also have positive tests for rheumatoid factor. There are a number of studies showing that rheumatoid arthritis is more aggressive when linked with a positive rheumatoid factor result. Smoking cigarettes is also a risk factor for developing arthritic nodules.
Many people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and develop nodules do not have pain or symptoms associated with them, explains WebMD. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of adults who have rheumatoid arthritis develop arthritic nodules. Some of these nodules move, while others stay connected to fascia or tendons under the skin. Nodules on the hands, knuckles, elbow and fingers are the most common, but they may also appear on the vocal chords, heart, lungs or other organs.