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Swelling of Fingers and Toes.


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#1 marsha

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:41 AM

Hello everyone,
I have noticed in the last week that my fingers and toes are so swollen, I can't open jars, bags. They are stiff and sore. I am wondering if this could be from Sclerodactyly? or Raynauds? or maybe just winter? Another question I had is my cuticles, they are so dry and cracked it's awful. Is this a symptom of the scleroderma? Has anyone else had problems with this?

I hope the New Year is treating everyone well.
Marsh

#2 Joelf

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 04:22 PM

Hi Marsha,

I can really empathise with you not being able to open jars and bags. I don't know if it's because I'm getting older and more fumble-fingered but everything seems to be hermetically sealed these days!! :emoticon-dont-know:

I only have small amount of skin thickening on the tips of my fingers (merely the possible beginning of Sclerodactyly) although at first, until I was started on my medication, my fingers were very swollen. The swelling did reduce but I notice recently that, despite the medication I take, they are beginning to have a tendancy to swell and become a bit tight again. (That's a real shame as I wear a lot of rings and spent an absolute fortune having them made larger and then smaller again.....hmm!! ^_^ )

The systemic forms of Scleroderma can cause the fingernails to become smaller, and cuticles to become hard or rough and we have a link here to Fingernails, Nailfolds and Cuticles. Certainly the condition of my nails and cuticles have improved, since I haven't been doing my horses in the winter, so I think that cold, damp conditions do make the problem worse.

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#3 marsha

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 06:00 PM

thanks Joelf,
I can't even wear my rings anymore! I do notice that my cuticles are worse in the winter, I go through tons of lotion but it really does no good...


#4 miocean

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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:59 PM

I have trouble opeing things, too. I just love it when I can't get something open and ask for help and that person can't open it either :emoticons-line-dance:

I have had rings sized a lot and for a while couldn't wear them at all. Right now I have 8 of them on :) so my fingers are doing much better. Sizing a ring too many times eventually weakens it and then the shank will have to be rebuilt. If a ring needs to be made larger metal should be added to it and not stretched (I have some experience in working with metals.) The last ring I got I had made a little bigger than what I needed and then I had an inexpensive ring sizer (whatever it is called) put on it. This is a small piece of metal that loops onto the ring in the back. If my fingers swell I can take that off the ring. This is less expensive than the sizing that allows the ring to open wider to get over your knuckle and then close again.

Marsha,
My hands and feet were so swollen at the onset that you couldn't see any of the veins in my hands and I broke through shoes. Goodbye rings, including toe rings which I had my husband cut off me. For 5 years I could only wear two pairs of shoes, a pair of sneakers and a pair of black flats. I am now doing better with the swelling but I am finding my Raynaud's worsening and am cold all the time even with layering clothes. I do not take any medicine for it.

My hands are getting small cuts on them this year and are very dry even though I moisturize them constantly. It is more than likely due to washing my hands a lot and using antibacterial gel. I have become a little bit of a germ-a-phobe after the kidney transplant as my immune system is kept very low to prevent rejection so I practice REALLY good hand hygiene. It has paid off as I haven't been sick either. As an art teacher my hands were constantly in water but they weren't as dry as they are now.

Are your fingers started to curl at all? Are you having trouble making a fist? Those were my first symptoms of sclerodactyly.

miocean
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#5 judyt

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 12:16 AM

Hello Everybody
Here is the old lady having her say!!!! This is supposed to be a Good News post, written to cheer you up and let you know that good things come to those who wait.

First of all, about 10 years ago when my Raynauds was still very active I was prescribed Norvasc and that helped tremendously, then when that medication went off the fully funded list I changed to Amlodipine and my headaches went away too. Then a few years later I started to get a lot of extra heart beats - not dangerous but very disturbing - and I was given Diltiazem. Gradually built up the dose over a few weeks and after a while my heart settled down. Some time later - months later - I noticed that I had not had a Raynauds attack for a long time.

That was about 2 years ago and still the same, no Raynauds :emoticons-line-dance: and as well my cuticles have settled down :emoticon-dont-know: can't quite tell you why, but they have.
Years and years ago my fingers changed size with the weather. Sometimes I couldn't wear any of my rings except my wedding ring, other times they would just about fall off. One evening when I was VERY cold they all fell off in the shower while I was trying to warm myself and I nearly lost them down the drain. My heart still almost stops when I think about that.

My hands were so dry they drove me crazy. Now I hardly notice it. Sometimes I use hand cream but no longer keep it handy at all times.

Miocean, I read an article in the newspaper just last week which said that the Researchers had found that in hand washing, it was the friction built up from vigorous washing, rather than the soap used which was the most useful. Apparently they found that using no soap at all but rubbing vigorously and thoroughly under water was just as effective. Ask your doctor next time what they think.

I know I am a fair bit older than most of you, but there was a time when I thought the problems would never go away. Now if I could just find a good fairy to magic up some repairs to my digestive system I would be good as new - well near enough anyway.

I had a hospital check yesterday and was pronounced stable!! so now I have a date for my trial SNS of 31st January. SNS, for those who haven't heard, is sacral nerve stimulation to hopefully improve my bowel function.

JudyT

#6 Joelf

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 01:46 AM

Thanks, Miocean, for the info about the rings; I didn't know it would weaken the shank but I did go to a very good jeweller, so hopefully he's done a proper job and not weakened the rings. You beat me ( again like the "ologists" thread! :lol: ) as I only have seven rings on at the moment as I don't wear my engagement ring all the time. I've also had 2 toe rings cut off as one was getting embedded into my toe........why do I do this to myself??!! ;) :lol:

Good luck with your appointment for the SNS on 31st January, Judy; I'll be thinking of you.

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#7 marsha

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 08:57 AM

Miocean,

Yes, it's is very hard to make a fist and to open widely; when I do close my hands the knuckles turn white. I know I do have the beginning of sclerodactyly. I just happened to notice that it seems to be getting worse. and wondered if the symptoms have anything to do with dry cold air.. Ugh, they are driving me nuts.

Thanks everyone.

#8 miocean

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 06:52 PM

JudyT,
I have read a lot about hand washing, the pros and cons of soap versus antibacterial gel. Everybody differs. The source I am going by is my sister-in-law who works in a hospital and is good friends with the infectious disease nurse.

All the hospital employees had to attend an in-service to learn about hand hygeine to cut down on infections. The first thing they had to do was wash their hands with soap and water. My sister-in-law scrubbed hers really hard, knowing what would come. She said she did it vigorously. Then she had to put her hands in a special light box and it showed they were covered with germs. Next she had to use antibacterial gel...when she put her hands in the light box, there were no germs.

Her hospital had zero infections the past few months!!!

There is a debate about the use of the gels and how they will build up a resistance to bacteria and eventually cause more infections. Who knows. All of the markets around here now have wipes when you go in for the handles of the carts and baskets and almost everywhere has gels on the counters. All I know is for almost two years I haven't had even a sniffle. Knock wood, again

Marsha,
Sounds like the beginning of scleradactyly. Can you get a prescrition for a hand therapist or occuptional therapy to learn exercises to help maintain your hands? If not, or if there are no facilties in your area, there are people on this site who can tell you what to do.

miocean
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#9 amberjolie

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 08:29 PM

I can definitely relate to the difficulty opening jars and bags (I use a foamy square piece designed to give more grip for jars and find it does help quite a bit, and I use scissors a lot for bags). I can't even come close to making a fist, and my knuckles definitely go white while I try. I also can't fully extend my fingers. Various parts of my hands go white if I try that, too.

My cuticles look terrible. They are hardened and yellowish, and I can't push them back like I used to be able to do.

I had my rings sized a year or two ago when my hands were swollen, and now I'm at the "falling off" stage. I really should get my wedding ring resized down again; or perhaps use that thing suggested by miocean.

I never really realized how much sclerodactyly I had until this post.

And the little knicks in the fingers, yes, they drive me nuts! They aren't nearly as bad as the ulcers, however, which fortunately I don't get frequently. But I usually just put some of the polysporin with the pain reliever in it on a bandaid and wear it as often as I can until they heal.

#10 judyt

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Posted 19 January 2012 - 08:55 PM

Miocean,

My Dad told me (back in the Dark Ages) to believe nothing of what you read and only half of what you see.

Think I had better start doing as my folks told me!!!

Hugs

JudyT

#11 debonair susie

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 11:43 AM

What a great thread, Marsha!

amberjolie, for your cuticles, you might look at cuticle cream to help withsoftening them. A while back, someone had mentioned cutting her cuticles...that is a NO-NO!
As for the cuts on the hands...I get those too...every winter when it gets cold, plus, as we've all mentioned, coupled with washing hands as much as we do. If my hands get bad enough, I slather them with bag balm and then put cotton gloves on...at bedtime; I've found that if I do this a couple or three nights, it really helps me, not to say it's a fix-all for everyone, but just thought I would toss that out there! ;)

My fingers/toes are also affected during the winter too, swelling. It IS exasperating to have the flux we do with swell/no swell, especially when it comes to rings,, as you've all mentioned! :( Hopefully, your doctor re-evaluates your hands and if deemed necessary, puts you on a medication that helps you with your Raynauds, Marsha.

Judy, your post truly WAS up-lifting! That is good news! Thank you for sharing!
Special Hugs,

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#12 amberjolie

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:22 PM

debonair susie, thanks for the advice for the cuticles. I had tried cutting them once, and often bite them (it's kind of tricky but I can do it), so I'll avoid that. I've tried cuticle oil in the past but I'll look for cream. Maybe I just have to use it a lot more often.