Treatment

Limited scleroderma has no known cure. Treatment focuses on relieving signs and symptoms and preventing complications.

Medications

Several types of medications can help ease the signs and symptoms of limited scleroderma, including:

  • Topical antibiotics. If skin ulcers become infected, you might need to apply topical antibiotics and bandage the area. If topical treatment doesn't work, you might need oral or intravenous antibiotics.
  • Antacid drugs. For heartburn, your doctor might suggest drugs that reduce the production of stomach acid.
  • Blood pressure lowering drugs. Medications that open small blood vessels and increase circulation might help relieve Raynaud's symptoms and reduce increased pressure in the arteries between the heart, lungs and kidney.
  • Drugs to suppress the immune system. These types of medications have shown promise in preventing a condition in which excess collagen collects in the tissue between the lungs' air sacs.

Therapy

Stiff, painful joints and skin are common problems in limited scleroderma. Physical or occupational therapy can teach exercises to help you maintain your flexibility and strength.

  • Physical therapy. Stretching exercises are important to help prevent loss of mobility in your finger joints. A physical therapist can also show you facial exercises that can help keep your face and mouth flexible.
  • Occupational therapy. If needed, an occupational therapist can help you learn new ways of performing daily tasks. For example, special toothbrushes and flossing devices can make it easier for you to care for your teeth.

Surgery

Surgery might be necessary for certain problems, such as:

  • Calcium deposits. Large or painful calcium deposits are sometimes surgically removed.
  • Red spots or lines. Laser surgery can reduce the appearance of red spots or lines caused by swollen blood vessels near the surface of the skin.

Alternative medicine

To help boost blood flow to extremities, you might try biofeedback, a technique that teaches you to control certain body responses. Relaxation exercises or medication also may be helpful.

May 18, 2017
References
  1. What is scleroderma? Scleroderma Foundation. http://www.scleroderma.org/site/PageNavigator/patients_whatis.html#.WG0T5ZK8zhc. Accessed Jan. 4, 2017.
  2. Scleroderma. American College of Dermatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Scleroderma. Accessed Jan. 4, 2017.
  3. Longo DL, et al., eds. Systemic sclerosis (scleroderma) and related disorders. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Jan. 4, 2017.
  4. Systemic sclerosis: Diffuse and limited. Scleroderma Foundation. http://www.scleroderma.org/site/Search?query=Systemic+scleroderma,+diffuse+and+limited#.WG0UrpK8zhdv. Accessed Jan. 4, 2017.
  5. Shah AA, et al. My approach to the treatment of scleroderma. Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 2013;88:377.
  6. AskMayoExpert. Scleroderma. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  7. Handout on health: Scleroderma. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Scleroderma/default.asp#3. Accessed Jan. 4, 2017.
  8. Scleroderma. American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/painful-skin-joints/scleroderma#tips. Accessed Jan. 5, 2017.
  9. Kidneys. Scleroderma Foundation. http://www.scleroderma.org/site/PageServer?pagename=body_kidney#.WHU6eZK8zhc. Accessed Jan. 10, 2017.