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Stiffness - Scleroderma or fibromyalgia?

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#1 summer


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Posted 14 October 2010 - 11:39 AM

I have had stiffness throughout my body, since I was diagnosed with Scleroderma and Fibromyalgia in 2007.
The main areas are pelvis/lower back, achilles tendons, ankles and now feet/joints in toe area. This morning I am finding that if I am sitting, my toes are fine, but when I get up, I am having constant stabbing pain in in the right foot in big toe joint and general foot area.

Could anyone tell me, whether this is caused by Scleroderma or Fibromyalgia, or both.

Many thanks


#2 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 01:38 PM

Hi Summer,

I'm sorry you have stiffness. I have both scleroderma and fibromyalgia, so I'm hard put to ever figure out what causes what. It just is what it is. However, when we get new onset of pain in certain spots, especially what you describe as a constant stabbing pain, it is time to consult your primary care doctor (or emergency room, if it is on that level). Let them sort it out, because we can also get things on top of both scleroderma and fibromyalgia, like infections, broken bones, or who knows, even gout (just for an off-the-wall example).

Will you please let us know what you find out from your doctor?

It has been my experience from the school of hard knocks that it is always a danger for us to assume that just because we are diagnosed with something, that a new symptom "must be" due to it. Our doctors take a more objective view (hopefully) and start from scratch for figuring out the cause. Whereas we tend to start with the ailments we already know we have and try to narrow it down from there. Medically speaking, that is a backwards approach.
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
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The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#3 Jeannie McClelland

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Posted 14 October 2010 - 03:57 PM

Hi Summer,

When I saw your post's title, I thought to myself, why not both? <_<

I'm like Shelley, I've been diagnosed with both. And, I think both contribute to the stiffness and soreness I experience. Sometimes I think one thing flares up and then that gets the other thing going.

I had to smile at the mention of gout - your foot pain sounds a lot like it. My handsome hubby has gout (it's yet another arthritic ailment) and his first attack was kind of funny in retrospect. Imagine a 6'4" tall man stuck upstairs and the said stairs were very narrow, steep, and had a curve up at the top. He woke up in agony with a red and throbbing foot and I knew I had to get him down those stairs, down some nasty brick steps, into the car and off to the doctor! OK, I'm 5'2". He couldn't put any weight on that foot. Got the picture? We must have looked like an act from the Cirque du Soleil! :P

Hope your stiffness eases off soon!
Jeannie McClelland
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#4 froggy


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Posted 14 October 2010 - 10:44 PM

Hi Summer. Well, I haven't been officially diagnosed with either. My rheumatologist did give me a fibro diagnoses on paper, along with connective tissue disease, but she's still not certain it's fibro because the symptoms would be atypical in that I had increased pain in only 2 of the 15 pressure points.

With all of that said, besides my Raynaud's going into overdrive, my first real indication that something was very wrong, was the pain you're describing in your feet. We live on 3 acres of property that we have to mow the majority of because it's on uneven hills (tractor rips it up). At first I thought that the pain was from doing so much mowing. After I had left the mowing all to my husband, I realized that it had to be something else. The pain would, and still does, keep me up at night. All of my blood tests have been negative, so I do not know what is going on. I can, however, sympathize with you. Hot baths are the answer for me... for just about everything.

Because you do have a diagnoses of both sclero and fibro, it would probably be wise to follow Shelly's advice, and see a doctor. I do hope you are feeling better soon. Peace and blessings to you, ~Andrea

#5 summer


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Posted 15 October 2010 - 12:23 PM

Thank you for all of the replies. My foot has settled down some, it is not swollen or red, so I would say that it still might be Scleroderma or Fibromyalgia. I'm having a morning stuck on the toilet again, so I must rush off.


#6 CraigR


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Posted 15 October 2010 - 07:32 PM


It's my understanding (and I am not a medical professional) that fibromyalgia does not show up on any routine blood tests. This is one of the reasons that, in the past many doctors considered it to be psychogenic (in the head).

This can mean that if your inflammation indicators (Erythrocyte sedimentation rate [or ESR or "sed rate"] and c-reactive protein [or CRP]) are elevated during your bouts of pain, it would suggest that it isn't the fibromyalgia.

Bear in mind that these indicators are "non-specific", meaning that inflammation may come from any number of things (e.g.- sclero, arthritis, influenza, cancer, etc.)

I get bouts of severe muscle pain (myalgia) in my upper body (accompanied with fatigue), and my inflammation indicators are always elevated when this occurs. It is not fibromyalgia, but likely myalgia associated with scleroderma or Sjogren's syndrome.

Knowledge of these indicators can be very enlightening. I can usually make a very good estimate of my sed rate based on how I feel.

Good luck,


#7 summer


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Posted 16 October 2010 - 01:29 PM

Thanks for the well wishes Andrea, I'm hoping that you are feeling better today. We are in for some warmer weather next week, so we can look forward to some sunshine.

Good luck with your visit to Monash, with DR S. I will PM you soon.


#8 summer


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Posted 16 October 2010 - 01:38 PM

Craig, all of my pressure points are always extremely tender, that was how I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. But If I press, any part of my body, it is very sore also.

I am in the process in finding another rheumatologist, so all my bloodwork can be done then.

Thank you for replying to my post.


#9 winnie97


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Posted 17 October 2010 - 03:45 AM

i too have systemic sclerosis and fybromyalgia and have stiffness as well, im on steroids and methotrexate but to be honest im still as stiff as I was even though my ESR levels have fallen slightly since march when I started on the methotrexate.
i think that for me its both of my conditions together.