Author: Shelley Ensz. Scleroderma is highly variable. See Types of Scleroderma. Read Disclaimer
Sclerodactyly and Scleroderma
Physical Therapy
Sclerodactyly Personal Stories

Overview of Sclerodactyly

Sclerodactyly is one of the hallmark or most well-recognized symptoms of systemic sclerosis.
Sclerodactyly VideoVideo: Sclerodactyly
Skin Hardening of Hands or Feet
Presented by Amanda Thorpe

Sclerodactyly is a tapering deformity of the bones of the fingers, defined by tight, stretched, wax like, hardened skin on the fingers and hands, causing the fingers to curl inwards, frozen in a clawed position, the sclerodactyly hallmark. Underlying soft tissues can atrophy and depending on severity, sclerodactyly can cause disability.

In scleroderma, sclerodactyly onsets with puffiness (swelling, edema) of the fingers or toes, and only rarely advances to the clawed condition described above.

Sclerodactyly is commonly associated with wasting (atrophy) of the underlying soft tissues. (Also see Overview of Skin Involvement, What is Scleroderma?, Types of Scleroderma) and Overview of Skin Involvement)

Photos of Sclerodactyly

Scleroderma Images. ISN Photo Repository.

Sclerodactyly and Scleroderma

Sclerodactyly, View 1
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Sclerodactyly, View 2
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Contributed by Sherrill Knaggs

Systemic scleroderma often affects the hands. The initial stage is swelling (edema), which can last for weeks, months, or years. Often the swelling is intermittent and worse in the morning. It can cause the fingers to look like sausages, with far fewer wrinkles. Skin tightness in the hands can make it impossible to pinch the skin on the fingers.

In some people, the fingers eventually begin to harden from fibrosis, and curl inward. They may then become frozen in this clawed position, which is referred to as "sclerodactyly."

Sclerodactyly Treatments

Sclerodactyly begins with swollen fingers and/or toes, which are often so swollen that it becomes difficult to bend them. This phase is then sometimes followed by skin thickening, and then skin hardening. It can eventually lead to hands that are stiffened into a claw, and immovable. ISN.

Overview of Treatments
Physical and Occupational Therapy
UVA-1 Phototherapy

Sclerodactyly Personal Stories

Betty Fults: CREST Scleroderma I would like to talk with someone that has feeding tubes also. Maybe that will help me…

Beverly: CREST Scleroderma I was overtired and needed naps in the afternoon, pain was slowly getting the better of me and I finally went to the doctor…

Bill: Diffuse Scleroderma I was relieved to have a label for my condition but the doctor was not very reassuring telling me that there was no effective cure or treatment…

More Sclerodactyly Personal Stories…

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