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Raynaud’s Phenomenon: A Warning Sign of Scleroderma

Many people tend to ignore their feet until they develop problems with them. This is especially worrying in patients who are suffering from scleroderma, since the initial signs of the disease are often found in the feet. 

Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, affects the circulation, nails, and skin of the hands and feet. One of the most common symptoms is Raynaud's phenomenon, a narrowing of the blood vessels in the fingers, toes, ears, and even the nose as the skin tries to cope with changes in temperature.

Raynaud’s phenomenon should be treated carefully. Prolonged attacks can lead to worsening circulation and tissue damage, leading to skin ulcers on the feet. Open sores on the feet are not only painful, they are also prone to infection—a condition that is unlikely to heal on its own due to poor circulation. 

Raynaud's spasms include specific color changes in the hands and feet:

  • First, fingers and toes become very pale as blood cannot reach into the tips.
  • Next, blood flow is cut off, turning fingertips and toes a bluish color.
  • Finally, blood flow suddenly returns, turning the fingertips and toes red.

These common scleroderma foot symptoms can occur several times a day, and are often triggered by stress or exposure to cold. In advanced cases, patients may suffer attacks without provocation. Patients can relieve spasms by applying warm water or heat to the fingertips, encouraging the circulation. 

If you have ever experienced one of these attacks, it is important that you contact the trusted Phoenixville podiatrists at HealthMark Foot & Ankle Associates today. We can show you how to treat scleroderma symptoms and avoid skin ulcers that can permanently damage your skin and bones.

Call us today for a consultation at one of our two convenient locations: in Media at 610-565-3668 or in Phoenixville at 610-933-8644. You can also click the link on this page to receive a FREE copy of our informational guide, The Foot is Not an Island: Recognizing Vitamin D Deficiency & How to Correct It.