Digital Ulcers

4 posts in this topic

Hi there


Have just visited my mum and found that she has an ulcer forming (about 2 weeks she said, but not mentioned previously) on her right thumb. It's not been dressed and she was trying to use the first two fingers instead of thumb and fore-finger yesterday, so it's obviously painful and difficult especially when eating.


This has happened before, most recently on her finger when it was not recognised, became infected, was diagnosed as frost bite and subsequently had to be amputated. A horrible and protracted experience all round.


I have recently had a trigger thumb release and I know how difficult it can be when your thumb is out of action, so I have sent her some branded dressings to try. I feel it would be better covered up, and have used these dressings myself. I have also said to her she really needs to see her general practitioner. I have posted previously to ask for advice 'cos she's not under any specialist, and doesn't do doctors (that's another story). I'm sure my dad will get her an appointment, but if anyone has any advice on dealing with the ulcer longer term it would be much appreciated.


Warm hugs - hope everyone's doing okay.

Best wishes Helen

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Hello Helen


Raynaud's will be the most likely reason for your mother's digital ulcers and I'd bet on it she never had frostbite either but Raynaud's. Have a look as well at topical treatments for digital ulcers.


I have foot ulcers instead of digital ones so can't advise but do have the Distric Nurses come in twice a week to dress them. There are many topics on the forums about ulcers as well but what I do remember being told by someone who was looking at possible amputation was never soak the ulcer. Interestingly the topic I have given you the link to opens with someone who ended having an amputation and they used to soak their ulcer so maybe there's something in it.


Your mum needs to consider medication to improve blood flow and circulation as well as treating the ulcer because it's been caused by Raynaud's which is a extreme spasm of the blood vessels in response to stress or cold. I have mild Raynaud's but even I can feel it in my hands when I get stressed.


You mum has my sympathy because I can't believe the pain I have had for just over a year now with my foot ulcers and for some reason I have always thought finger ones would be worse, maybe because you have to use your hands for just about everything!


Take care,

Amanda Thorpe

ISN Sclero Forums Senior Support Specialist

ISN Video Presentations Manager

ISN Blogger

(Retired) ISN Sclero Forums Assistant Manager

(Retired) ISN Email Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Hi Helen,


Oh, your poor mum, that ulcer must be so painful! I have Raynaud's but thankfully no ulcers (yet!)


Amanda's right about the medication; unfortunately if she's developing an ulcer your mother may have to reconsider visiting the doctor, however much she's against it or the same scenario may occur needing her finger to be amputated. I've included a link for you to some Lifestyle and Home Remedies but it does sound as if your mother will need to be prescribed some medication to help her.


Kind regards,

Jo Frowde

ISN Assistant Webmaster

SD World Webmaster

ISN Sclero Forums Manager

ISN News Manager

ISN Hotline Support Specialist

International Scleroderma Network (ISN)

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Hi Helen,


We all do understand your concern, and I am sure your Mum is in agony with that sore finger. Not long before I was diagnosed I started getting finger ulcers, like Amanda I get leg ulcers too, and they were so sore. My finger ulcers never got to the open sore stage, I was able to control them but they were still very painful. Yes Amanda, you are right fingers are more painful than feet and legs.


Of course, the best approach is to improve the blood flow if at all possible, and that really means visiting an experienced doctor. Experienced with Sclero that is. "Fat chance" I can hear you mutter!!


As I have said before, I am nearer your Mum's age than others on this forum, but I am stroppy and determined not to suffer more than I have to and I find it hard to understand people who would rather grin and bear it. If only I could think of something to say that would persuade her to give in a little.


Does the thought of another amputation not get to her?


Kind thoughts, warm hugs and best wishes to you and your Mum.



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