What is Sclerodactyly, its causes, and treatment?

Sclerodactyly of the hands.
Sclerodactyly of the hands.

Scelerodactyly is the hardening of the skin of the hand. This causes the fingers to curl inward and take on a claw-like shape. However, not everyone with scleroderma symptoms in their hands will get sclerodactyly. A scleroderma is a form of arthritis. It is a rare disease. The initial stages of the disease involve swelling of the fingers. Later, as the connective tissue becomes fibrotic, skin on the fingers and toe becomes hard and shiny. In addition, sclerodactyly often leads to ulceration of the skin of the distal digits.

Causes of Sclerodactyly.

Sclerodactyly is caused by systemic scleroderma, an autoimmune disease. When a person has an autoimmune disease, their immune system attacks healthy body tissue. This is after mistaking it for foreign invaders such as bacteria. However, in scleroderma, the body responds to a perceived attack by producing too much collagen, a protein found in the skin. Collagen gives the skin its strength and elasticity. In addition, it also helps to replace dead skin cells.


Scleroderma’s signs and symptoms vary from person to person, depending on which parts of the body are affected. However, early symptoms include swelling and itchiness. The affected skin can become lighter or darker than the color and may look shiny because of the tightness. In addition, some people also experience small red sports, called telangiectasia, on their hands and face.

Treatment of Sclerodactyly.

There is no cure for Sclerodactyly. Therefore, treatment aims at reducing symptoms and improving the quality of life for those with the condition. Available treatment options include:

Physical therapy and occupational therapy.

hand exercises may help some people with early symptoms of sclerodactyly, such as swelling or tight skin.

Ultraviolet (UV) Light.

using UV light therapy helps to break down the strengthened collagen in the skin tissue. Therefore, a portion of UV light, known as Ultraviolet AI (UVAI), is responsible for this effect.


Those with sclerodactyly may wish to consider surgical treatment. This can provide symptom relief and increase hand movement.

error: Content is protected !!