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Granuloma Annulare

What is granuloma annulare?

Granuloma Annulare (GA) is a bumpy skin condition in the shape of a circle or ring. At the start, it may be a semi-circle. The bumps are firm, not soft. The center of the circle is flat and normal skin color. The skin on top of GA is usually normal. Sometimes, it's a little pink or purple colored. Peak size across is 1 to 2 inches (25 to 50 mm).

Usually it occurs on the ankle or top of the foot. It can also occur on the wrist or back of the hand. Rarely, it occurs on the back of the head.

What is the cause?

The cause is unknown.

How long does it last?

GA lasts 2 years on the average. It may last up to 4 years. During that time it may get a little better, then get worse. With time, it goes away on its own.

How is it treated?

Granuloma annulare is harmless and will slowly go away on its own. It doesn’t cause pain or itching. It doesn't leave any scarring.

Prescription creams are sometimes used to treat GA. Injection of steroids is sometimes suggested. But usually none of these treatments are helpful. Your healthcare provider will decide what is best for your child. Patience and the passage of time still works best.

When should I call my child's healthcare provider?

Call during office hours if:

  • It looks infected.
  • Your child becomes worse.
Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick,” American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2017-06-07
Last reviewed: 2017-06-05
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2018 Barton D. Schmitt, MD FAAP. All rights reserved.
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