Heberden’s Nodes

Other Known Aliasesnone

Definitionosteophytic growths on the distal interphalangeal joints of the fingers and toes


Clinical SignificanceMost commonly seen in osteoarthritis and similar to, but much more common than, Bouchard’s nodes of the proximal interphalangeal joints.  They are much more common in women and seem to have a genetic predisposition.

History – Named after William Heberden (1710-1801), who was an English physician and received his medical doctorate from St. Johns College in Cambridge in 1739, where he made his name a distinguished medical lecturer at the university.  He received fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians in 1746 and then the Royal Society in 1749.  He enjoyed a prolific medical practice in London and Paris for over 30 years.  While semi-retired, he worked on a collection of papers for the Royal College of Physicians to be transcribed into a three volume textbook entitled Medical Transactions.  These were eventually revised and transcribed in English, by his son William Heberden the younger, which included a chapter on arthritis by Heberden the elder describing these findings.

William Heberden b1710.jpg


  1. Firkin BG and Whitwirth JA.  Dictionary of Medical Eponyms. 2nd ed.  New York, NY; Parthenon Publishing Group. 1996.
  2. Bartolucci S, Forbis P.  Stedman’s Medical Eponyms.  2nd ed.  Baltimore, MD; LWW.  2005.
  3. Yee AJ, Pfiffner P. (2012).  Medical Eponyms (Version 1.4.2) [Mobile Application Software].  Retrieved http://itunes.apple.com.
  4. Whonamedit – dictionary of medical eponyms. http://www.whonamedit.com
  5. Up To Date. www.uptodate.com
  6. https://archive.org/details/2556044R.nlm.nih.gov

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