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Carpal tunnel vs. Skin Tightening on the wrists

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#1 LMS


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Posted 24 June 2008 - 04:48 AM

Hi Everyone,

I was recently diagnosed with Sclero. I have been having a lot of wrist pain and my range of motion seems to be decreasing. I have a lot of swelling in my hands and it seems to be progressing to my wrists. When I first told my rheumatologist of the symptoms she said it was probably carpal tunnel and rx a rigged wrist splint for my left wrists which has been causing me most of the trouble. Now I'm not so sure, or is it both carpal tunnel and progressive skin?


#2 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 05:03 AM

Dear LMS,

Carpal tunnel is one of the symptoms of scleroderma. Sometimes it is even the first symptom experienced. Although I hasten to add that the vast majority of people with carpal tunnel do not have scleroderma!

Please read more on our section, Joint Inflammation and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Scleroderma can also cause joint inflammation (pain, redness and/or swelling) which is usually treated with NSAIDS or other anti-inflammatories. Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) is often an initial symptom of scleroderma (usually along with Raynaud's), preceding the development of other symptoms by months or years...

Also see: Scleroderma Symptom Checklist (PDF Brochure).

I'm hoping your rheumatologist is a scleroderma expert? If not, you may be receiving inadequate evaluation and care.

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.

#3 Buttons


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Posted 24 June 2008 - 07:44 AM

I have carpal syndrome in both wrists, my rheumatologist referred me for nerve conduction test which showed positive in both wrists. He also said it was probably caused by the SSc which was caused swelling in both wrists which in turn was putting pressure on the nerve. He has referred me to an orthopedic surgeon who I see on Thursday this week. I'm still not sure I want an operation if he suggests it but my general practitioner said to have it done because it will stop the numbness/tingling & the problems its causing with sleep.

#4 lizzie


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Posted 24 June 2008 - 07:57 AM

I have just today contacted the rheumatology dept re similar problems. the range of movement in the thumb on my right hand has decreased dramatically in the last 3 weeks and I have pain all down the arm and into the wrist. Over the last 6 weeks or so I have also had skin thickening on that arm and it is feeling tighter . My rheumatologist is actually on holiday but will get to see another of the rheumatologists in the next day or two. Will let you know what they say.


#5 RememberingToSmile


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Posted 24 June 2008 - 11:26 AM

Hi There-

Have they been able to say whether it is limited or diffuse sclero? Sometimes it take a few months...


Don't know if it helps - but here is some of my history....

At the beginning - I was ANA and RA factor negative with swollen hands, blue fingers and a painful finger sore that wouldn't heal (add many joint issues, fatigue, and pain esp in the mornings). My primary care physician sent me to the neurologist for EMG who gave me the diagnosis of carpal tunnel, entrapped nerve in the elbow and probable thoracic outlet syndrome - and he referred me to surgical evaluation.

Then my feet also swelled and my primary sent me to the Rheumatologist for a second opinion. He quickly put me on immunosuppressants and was relieved I put off the surgery consult. He said, for me, drugs were appropriate, not surgery. My primary care physician also sent me to physical therapy right away to learn proper exercises for the hand and arm tendons and range of motion strategies - as well as education about how to massage my arms to maintain circulation and get relief from edema.

Fast forward 2 years, ANA positive, speckled pattern, Diffuse sclero, inflammatory myositis, inflammatory arthritis, Digital Ulceration (minor), Raynauds and GERD (of course). We've finally found the right medication to control the symptoms... I do some kind of PT everyday and have maintained remarkable range of motion all over.