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I have crest syndrome, do the fingers and knuckles hurt or swell?

By Anonymous January 31, 2018 - 11:08am
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HERWriter Guide

Hello Anon

Thank you for writing.

Yes, this kind of swelling can occur.

Systemic scleroderma is further divided into the groups of: limited and diffuse. The five most common areas affected in limited scleroderma are known by the acronym CREST.

● C- Calcinosis is when calcium deposits form in connective tissue typically on the hands, fingers, face and trunk.

● R- Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition where blood vessels constrict in the hands and feet in response to cold or stress. Feet and fingers turn white and cold, then turn blue eventually turning red as blood flow resumes.

● E –Esophageal dysfunction due to scarring can lead to swallowing difficulties or chronic heartburn.

● S- Sclerodactyly is tightening of the skin of the fingers due to excess collagen production making it hard to bend or straighten them.

● T –Telangiectasia are red spots that may appear on the face, lips, hands and forearms caused by swelling of tiny blood vessels or capillaries.

Diffuse scleroderma typically comes on suddenly and those patients are more at risk of developing serious organ complications of the disease


Usually a rheumatologist oversees and coordinates the other specialties needed as scleroderma affects numerous parts of the body. Skin thickening may be treated with the rheumatoid drug penicillamine which is thought to decrease collagen production. If other organs are affected by scarring of the tissue, alternative medications can be tried to control symptoms.

Scleroderma affects people differently and many people live with the condition with adjustments to their life but without progression of the disease. Others do suffer from multiple organ problems and battle to regain a balanced life. Patients who seek close monitoring and care during the first three years of skin involvement have the best outlook for the future as the risk of organ complications goes down after that period.


January 31, 2018 - 2:46pm
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