If you have recently been diagnosed with systemic sclerosis, you are probably overwhelmed by both fear and medical information. Many scleroderma patients are cautioned not to take any unnecessary risks, and are worried they will now be confined to living a fragile existence, not sure if it’s even safe to leave the house.
At HealthMark Foot & Ankle Associates, we know that it is possible for you to live a full and healthy life. Although the only way to treat scleroderma is by easing the symptoms, proper treatment can allow you to live with your disease rather than be defeated by it.
- Skin tightening. Because tightening of the skin is one of the biggest symptoms of systemic sclerosis, there are many different types of treatment. First, there are medications that can ease a patient’s discomfort and promote skin elasticity. There are also physical exercises that can help maintain the skin’s movement around joints. In addition, there are heat treatments such as paraffin wax baths and soaking agents that can relieve the pain of tightened skin and allow for easier body movement.
- Ulcers. Scleroderma sufferers must take special care to avoid accidents that can cause skin breakage. Ulcers are most common on the fingers and toes, but can also happen on the lower legs as a result of tripping or falling. Since an open sore can lead to infection, we counsel patients on proper ulcer prevention techniques, starting with wearing long pants, thick socks, and well-fitting shoes.
- Dry skin. Scleroderma can contribute to dry or cracking skin, making infections even more likely. Patients should moisturize their skin daily with unscented body lotions or creams, making sure they are soaked into the skin before putting on socks and clothing.
- Irritation. Patients with systemic sclerosis sometimes have chronic skin problems, including rashes and eczema. In these cases, patients may benefit from ointments which do not soak in, but rather make a barrier on the skin. These will trap in natural moisture as well as protect the skin from harsh chemicals or cleaning agents.
For more information on living with scleroderma, call us today in Media at 610-565-3668 or in Phoenixville at 610-933-8644, or 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.