Get your Health question answered in 3 easy steps
A Doctor will be with you shortly
Ask a Doctor Now
179 Doctors are Online

Noticed lymph nodes under chin and armpits. Feels hard and are movable. What to do?

User rating for this question
Very Good
Answered by

Practicing since : 2004
Answered : 1462 Questions
Hi, exactly how hard or soft are Normal, non-swollen lymph nodes supposed to be? I'm an healthy feeling 32yr old male 5'9" 163lbs. I've just quit smoking cannibis and cigarettes after 13 years. I noticed the lymph nodes under my chin (wedged under the mandible), in my armpits (axillary), neck, and groin are not soft.

They are kinda sorta hard and firm (how do i know if they are rubbery?) but not stony or rock hard, all i know is that they are not soft and don't make that squish. I would categorize them as non tender, non swollen, and firm. All of the them seem to be small only getting up to about a 1cm at most. They are movable as far as I can tell. It's hard to feel any of them with just the tips of my fingers, so I've been grabbing the lose skin between my index finger and thumb in order to feel the nodes. The nodes will slip in and out of my fingers as i manipulate them and the don't seem to be stuck to the over lying skin. The deeper nodes are harder to move and reach.

Is there anything to be worried about at this point? I've heard STONY hard nodes attached to the skin, that are SWOLLEN should be a concern. I had a dental abscess during the last week of May by the way, and it took about five days to clear up after treatment. I'm inquiring about this because I've recently found about a sick family member and It really has me worrying about my past health choices. I'm not feeling sick or anything at the moment and in the back of my mind I sort of think my nodes felt similarly when I was casually feeling around years ago, but I'm still concerned

I just googled my query and found this quote:

"A normal lymph node is small and firm"

Does this hold true? I've researched this for DAYS and this is the first time hearing it.
Posted Wed, 24 Jul 2013 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 7 hours later
Thanks for your query. I understand your concern and I appreciate the efforts you have put in to find out the exact nature of your glands.
As per your descriptions and the fact that you are otherwise so well, these glands appear normal to me. Another reassuring fact is that they have remained same over the years. Dental abscess may also lead to enlarged nodes, which may persist for long time after treatment. Even otherwise, normally felt nodes are there in every individual. They are usually soft, but some firmness is not unusual.
To be sure, you need to visit a physician who can feel the nodes and tell if anything else is necessary.
I am sure you will do just fine.

I will be available to answer further followup queries, if any.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Noticed lymph nodes under chin and armpits. Feels hard and are movable. What to do? 31 minutes later
Thanks so much for answering the question. I must inform you that NONE of the nodes in question (axillary, cervical, groin) are soft so that's why it was a concern. Also, I only THINK they've been this way for years. I don't think it would have raised any red flags if I weren't in this heightened, hypocondrialcal condition from googling. But, the fact that they don't seem to exceed 1 cm is reassuring.

Can you also explain to me why the XXXXXXX XXXXXXX Medicine Library's website defines NORMAL lymph nodes as "small and firm"? It's literally one of the only sources that described them that way. here:

Under "Facts about lymphadenitis" 2nd sentence. This sentence was very reassuring for me. I know being a little silly here with worrying about words but I would like to hear your opinion on it. Thank you

One more thing. Is it normal to feel nodes in the infraclavicular fossa region? I feel them upon pinching but not when palpating normally with my three fingers. They are all small and firm like all my other nodes All in all, every lymph node I felt, i used the pinching method to feel them. Is that "overkill" when trying to detect lymph node abnormalities? Should I just use the three finger palpation method and be done with it?

If you can't answer my last two questions, I would be most appreciative. Thank you.
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 15 hours later
Thanks for followup.
I have gone through the XXXXXXX site. Many a times these terms like soft and firm are very subjective. Nobody can define what is soft and what is firm. But hard is definitely abnormal. Probably that is what they meant.

Coming to your last two questions, I think that you are doing an 'overkill' as you said. These are all probably normal. It is better you leave the headache of palpation to your physician as it is his/her job basically.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Google+
Question is related to
Diseases and Conditions
Medical Topics

The user accepted the expert's answer

Ask an Oncologist

© Ebix, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All the information, content and live chat provided on the site is intended to be for informational purposes only, and not a substitute for professional or medical advice. You should always speak with your doctor before you follow anything that you read on this website. Any health question asked on this site will be visible to the people who browse this site. Hence, the user assumes the responsibility not to divulge any personally identifiable information in the question. Use of this site is subject to our Terms & Conditions
Already Rated.
Your rating:

Ask a Doctor