Digital ulcers can be caused by Raynaud's and by all types of systemic scleroderma (either limited or diffuse systemic sclerosis.) The ulcers can occur on fingers or toes and are often (but not always) painful and difficult to heal.
Unfortunately, there are insufficient standards to define digital ulcers. The result is that many rheumatologists fail to accurately diagnose, and assess stages of active versus inactive, digital ulcers. Thus, scleroderma patients who have issues with sores on their fingers or toes may find it particularly beneficial to consult a scleroderma expert for proper evaluation and treatment.
Preventing attacks of Raynaud's can be critical for controlling the occurrence of digital ulcers. Treating ulcers promptly and effectively is critical to preventing the development of gangrene, which can lead to amputation. (Also see What is Scleroderma?, Types of Scleroderma, Raynaud's, Raynaud's Prevention, and Worldwide Scleroderma Experts)
Digital (Finger) Ulcers Scleroderma and Raynaud's can cause painful ulcers on the fingers or toes, which are known as digital ulcers. No treatment for finger ulcers should be undertaken without the supervision of a physician — it's very important to treat finger ulcers properly, to prevent complications such as serious infection, gangrene or possible amputation. ISN Photo Repository, contributed by Cindy G.
Digital (Finger) Ulcer from Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD). This digital ulcer is 14 weeks old. It was caused by secondary Raynaud's phenomenon, in a patient with Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD). The MCTD was diagnosed 5 years ago, after thyroid gland removal. ISN Photo Repository, contributed by Jeanne N.
Digital Ulcer from Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD). When I was eighteen my rheumatologist diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis. Later at the age of twenty-one, another doctor said it looks more like C.R.E.S.T. Scleroderma. Now I'm twenty-six and the same doctor who diagnosed me with rheumatoid arthritis says its mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD). ISN Photo Repository, contributed by Rosemarie.
Photo of Leg Ulcer This is a very large chronic leg ulcer in a Systemic Sclerosis patient, which has not responded to treatment. ISN Photo Repository, contributed by Sylvia Finegan.
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