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Finger ulcers

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#1 beanie


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Posted 19 November 2008 - 02:19 AM

Hi. I am 39 and when I was 13-14 suffered from an ulcer on my right index finger for a long time. I was diagnosed with scleroderma at age 16, so we didn't know what exactly was happening with my finger. Doctor, then, just said to soak finger in soapy water. Over time, I lost the end of that finger up to the first knuckle and now have a "little finger" there. Anyway, after all this time, now I have another ulcer but this time on my middle right finger. I vaguely remember having the ulcer forever, seems like, before it went away when I was young. What do you all do for ulcers? I know I am lucky as this is my only second one but I don't want to lose the fingertip if I can do something. I type as one of my part-time jobs and am concerned about that. Right now, it throbs and aches. Tell me how you all deal with these and is there any medication to help?


Oh, does this mean my scleroderma is active? I see a doctor on Friday for a second opinion about starting Imuran or cyclophosphamide for aggressive therapy due to decreased PFTs and CT scan evidence of progression of the pulmonary fibrosis over the last year.

#2 canon


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Posted 19 November 2008 - 05:38 PM


Sorry you are getting another finger ulcer and that your pulmonary problems have not improved. Good thing you are seeing a doctor soon. He/she might be able to help you about who to see for your ulcer. I think there are other treatment options now but ulcers can be nasty. Good luck and ask alot of questions.

With gentle thoughts,

A happy heart is good medicine.

#3 bookworm


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Posted 19 November 2008 - 07:02 PM

Hi Beanie,
I had a finger ulcer that developed gangrene and ate off the end of my finger. It took right at one year to heal. Shortly after it got well, I started developing another one on the other hand. My doctor had a new treatment for this one: Viagra.
Ever since, I have been on Viagra or Cialis and I haven't had any more trouble with those awful ulcers. Ask your doctor about this. Viagra and Cialis are also used now for Pulmonary Hypertension.

Mary in Texas

#4 ashu


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Posted 19 November 2008 - 07:48 PM


I am sorry to hear this . My daughter who is 11 years now is suffering from scleroderma since 4 years .she has digital ulcers. I do apply mupirocin ointment . Do let me know if you going to use better treatment . Take care of Raynauds phenomina. I can give you further details.

#5 CraigR


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Posted 20 November 2008 - 01:03 PM

Is the doctor that you are going to see a rheumatologist?

Scleroderma is a rare disease that is usually poorly understood by doctors who are not rheumatologists. Even some rheumatologists do not deal with much scleroderma.

A scleroderma specialist is your best bet. This website can help you find one.

There many ways that a doctor who is an expert in scleroderma can be helpful. Please be sure that your doctor is an expert.

Good luck,


#6 beanie


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Posted 21 November 2008 - 01:24 AM

Thanks everyone. Yes, the specialist I am seeing this afternoon is a rheumatologist and his specialty is actually scleroderma. I see a rheumatologist of my own closer to where I live. It will be interesting to actually see someone whose main interest is scleroderma. be thinking of a good plan of treatment for me. Viagra and Cialis, well that is interesting. I am on Lotrel and Procardia and have been on those for a bit. Will update when I know more.

In much faith,

#7 JustME


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Posted 23 November 2008 - 08:41 PM

I hope this helps get your finger better. I had my first ulcer 5 years ago. It took about 2 months for it to heal but what I did was put neosporin on it 2-4 times per day and replaced the bandage when ever it got wet as well. You need to physically push blood into the tip using your other hand, do this as often as you can all day long. This will heal it. The key is to not let it get infected and to keep blood flowing to the area. My finger healed 100%.

#8 smurfette


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Posted 24 November 2008 - 09:40 PM

I am on Procardia and the one thing I have noticed is that I have far fewer episodes of Raynaud's as a result. It does lower blood pressure and that is something that must be considered because Viagra and drugs of that type also lower blood pressure. If your doctor is going to be considering Viagra just remember to tell him about ALL the drugs you are taking, especially the Procardia because they may interact and cause a dangerous lowering of your blood pressure.
It is important to keep your entire body warm, not just your extremities warm also so that you can fend off cold. That also deeps the episodes of Raynaud's away. I wish you luck and let us know what happens.

Chocolate, It isn't just for breakfast anymore!

#9 Vicky G

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 03:54 PM

Just read about your concerns. Ulcers are no joke. Are you better? I know it has been one month. I began my second ulcer in October, which turned into two, then finally 3. I have been in severe pain the past 2 months. I made an appointment with my rheumatologist who told me to put neosporin and a band aid to care for the "pit" he called it. I asked him if the were ulcers and he said no and that it was my Raynaud's simply flaring. I was not happy with this answer. I know me and my pain levels and two on one finger is unbearable. I got on a plane after researching the best rheumatologist in the country and made an appointment. I was then diagnosed with CREST and scleroderma. I am currently in the very early stages. As far as treatment for the ulcers I have been rubbing nitroglycerin ointment on 3 times a day to dilate the vessels and get blood flow to the wound. I have also been prescribed a better daily dose of Dilazitem as well. So, you must treat the ulcer by treating the cause I am told. Hope your ulcer has healed by now. I know and feel your pain.

#10 Shelley Ensz

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 04:04 PM

Hi Vicky,

Welcome to Sclero Forums! I am glad you took the bull by the horns and got a proper diagnosis. Your old rheumatologist sounds like a doozy.
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.

#11 bowbec


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Posted 13 December 2008 - 09:26 AM


I presently have a finger ulcer. My doctor called it a digital infarction. He said the finger looses blood supply and dies. When it is dying it is the most painful. He prescribed Nitroglycerin cream as a topical ointment to be applied directly on the ulcer. I also take procardia 60 mg for my circulation and one baby asprin a day.
Keep them clean and protected. Hope this helps!

Bless You,
Diagnosed with Diffuse Systemic Scleroderma May 2005
Raynaud's, GI, esophagus, skin and lung involvement.

#12 Patty LaFave

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Posted 19 January 2009 - 09:12 PM

Hi, I'm sorry to hear about your finger ulcer. I know they are extremely painful. Between 2004-2005 I had 2 different ulcerated fingers. Before that I had had a few ulcers but they weren't very significant. The first one I developed on my right index finger. It was treated with procardia and ointments to the finger and also a bypass from my right leg to my right wrist as the doctors found I was missing part of my ulnar artery and they felt that was contributing to the circulation impairment. None of the treatments worked and I ended up having to have half my finger amputated. The second one was on my left index finger and it was treated with a medication called Flolan which helped significantly and it healed. After those 2 ulcers I also had a surgery called a sympathectomy, but with that surgery they open all the small vessels that go to your fingers. The doctor said they peel off the outer layer of the vessel, which then allows the vessel to expand. Since those surgeries I have had no significant ulcers. My fingers still turn purple when cold but no ulcers. Those surgeries were done by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand surgery. I also take a med called Cozaar, and a baby aspirin every day.

Patty LaFave