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Digital Ulcers

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6 replies to this topic

#1 Joe


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Posted 17 June 2007 - 06:34 AM

I am trying to get this single large digital ulcer on my left middle finger healed. I have had mine for several months now. I should have gone to a wound care facility earlier but I have now. The ulcer is about 3/4" wide and 1/4" long. It is not infected. The skin is red around the wound and has a rolled look around the edges. The center is depressed about a 1/4" and white and has hardened into scar tissue.

The wound care center tried to scrape the hard center with a scalpel but it was too hard. So, daily, she has me clense it with saline solution then put zinc oxide around the wound and Panafil (green) ointment in the wound and then place a small foam pad on and wrap it per every 24 hours. This will last for a week and is suppsoed to debride the wound of scar tissue so it can heal with some ointment that comes next. I don't seem to be having any more ulcer issues on my other knuckes since I started using the Nitro Bid 2% ointment to increase blood flow but this one has just never gone away.

I am looking for information from others that have or have had ulcers and exactly what worked to allow them to heal up. The Dr at the wound care center is researching Scleroderma this week until I return so the fact that she does not have much knowledge about this disease is concerning...

If you can, please share your successes and failures so we can benefit from your experiences. I would very much appreciate the input....



#2 jefa


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Posted 17 June 2007 - 10:36 AM

Hi, Joe. Fortunately, I have had no experience with digital ulcers, though I am sure those who have will step up and share their experiences Here are a couple of links I posted in another topic on a similar subject"

"As nan said, you may be describing a Digital Ulcer. Do you have problems with cold hands and/or feet that sometimes change color? Another ISN link to explore is the one on Raynaud's phenomenon. Digital ulcers are more likely to occur in conjunction with Raynaud's (pronounced RAY-nose) attacks and are caused by lack of oxygen to skin cells."

Warm wishes,

Carrie Maddoux
(Retired)ISN Sclero Forums Support Specialist
(Retired)ISN Sclero Forums UK Chat Host

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

#3 Rachelle


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Posted 17 June 2007 - 02:16 PM

I have one now I have been dealing with for months. I have used nearly everything....And it is still there!!! I dont know what to do.

#4 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 17 June 2007 - 04:49 PM

Hi Rachelle,

A rule of thumb is, if it's not getting better within a month, it's not healing, it's getting worse! In which case, it is time to ask your doctor for a referal to a Wound Care Center, like the one Joe is attending. They use the latest techniques to heal difficult ulcers. Continue to consult your doctor every few weeks if an ulcer is not healing. Eventually everyone seems to find a technique that works for them, but in your case, it would be very important to seek expert advice to get it on the road to healing now.
Warm Hugs,

Shelley Ensz
Founder and President
International Scleroderma Network (ISN)
Hotline and Donations: 1-800-564-7099

The most important thing in the world to know about scleroderma is sclero.org.

#5 Vee


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Posted 18 June 2007 - 04:59 AM

Hi Joe,

A couple of years ago, I had an ulcer about the size you described on my finger. I was put on 3 different medications(channel blockers and vassodilators), for about 6 months. None of them worked. I was then switched to Viagra, and the other 3 drugs were discontinued. My finger was closed up in 6 weeks. The only thing that sounds different is that yours already has scar tissue on it. Mine was open the whole time.

Good Luck in your search. I sure hope something gives you relief soon!
Happy people don't have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have!

Warm and Happy to you! Vee

#6 Joe


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Posted 18 June 2007 - 06:16 PM

I am already taking BP meds to open the blood vessels. I am going back to the wound care facility tomorrow. I am on a mission to get this healed and I will share all the details as I go through it. The wound doesn't look much different but I do believe the Panafil is softening the scar tissue. Tomorrow I expect that the Dr. at the wound care center will scrape the wound with a scalpel and I am not looking forward to that experience. I have had it wrapped with a knuckle bandage for a full week now 24/7 with cleaning every morning. It's been more painful this week. I am positive the Nitro Cream has prevented any new ulcers. It really opens the blood supply to my hands. I'll post more tomorrow.

#7 rlbrussell


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Posted 20 June 2007 - 06:18 AM

Hi Joe,

I had three knuckle ulcers that just recently healed. The worst was on my middle finger. I had them for 8 months with no improvement. Once I went to wound care they had them healed in 6 weeks. I could not believe it!!! Here is what they had me do:

I cleaned them with a wound cleanser
Put Silva-sorb ointment on the ulcer (Rx only)
Covered it with a patroleum gauze
Wrapped it with a regular gauze
Wrapped it with coban

I changed the dressing 1-2 a day. When I showered I would put a large glob of petroleum jelly on them to keep them water proofed.

He also had me take a L-arginine supplement. I guess protein intake is important for wound healing.

I remember they got more sore before they got better because we were keeping them moist 24/7. But I guess that was the environment they needed to heal.

Good luck!

Diffuse Sclero
dx Jan 2006