This patient information on Granuloma Annulare is provided by John L. Meisenheimer, M.D. a board certified Dermatologist and skin care specialist based in Orlando, Florida. This information is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice or treatment of a dermatologist or other physician.
What is it? Granuloma Annulare is a peculiar disorder of the skin. It is frequently confused
with a fungus infection (ringworm), but it is not related. Granuloma Annulare can occur at any age, but is more commonly seen in children. It can occur anywhere, but typically it appears as one or more rings on the back of the hands or feet. Individual rings may grow in size and change in shape over weeks to months.
What causes it? Granuloma Annulare is a puzzling inflammatory disease of the skin. Some experts believe that Granuloma Annulare may be an unusual hypersensitivity reaction to insect bites or other minor skin injuries, but this has not been adequately proven.
Is it dangerous? For the typical healthy person Granuloma Annulare is a harmless disorder and asymptomatic. In a small percentage of patients symptoms such as tenderness or itching may be present. It is not related to cancer and it does not involve internal organs.
Can it be cured? Granuloma Annulare typically shows spontaneous clearing in two to three years. Treatment sometimes speeds this process. A small percentage of patients may have the condition for decades.
Will it spread? It usually stays confined to the arms and legs. A rare person may get involvement of other areas or widespread involvement. New rings may continue to form.
Is it contagious? It is not contagious and you can not "catch it" from anyone. It is not ringworm, and children don't need to be kept home from school.