Pediatric Scleroderma in Children

Skin protection

Protecting the skin will help maximize blood flow to the skin, hands and feet, especially for children who have Raynaud’s phenomenon. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid injury to the affected areas, especially the tips of the fingers and the toes.
  • Protect the child’s hands and feet from cold. Keep rooms at a warm temperature and have the child wear an extra layer of clothing in the winter, as well as a hat (ear muffs), gloves and warm socks. Wool is warmer than cotton or synthetic fabrics, and several layers of thin clothing are better than one heavy or thick layer of clothing.
  • Avoid smoking or exposure to smoke.
  • Avoid cold medications that include pseudoephedrine.
  • Protect the child from excess sun exposure.
  • Avoid using astringents, body or facial scrubs or harsh detergents on the skin.
  • Use lotions as prescribed by your doctor to keep your child’s skin soft.

Physical therapy

Basic stretching and guided exercise programs with physical and occupational therapists help your child maintain flexibility, joint range of motion, muscle strength and blood flow to the affected areas. Therapy will also help prevent joint contractures (or bends at the joints). Splints may be recommended if necessary.

Surgery

In rare instances orthopedic hand or cosmetic surgery may become necessary to correct severe joint contractures or skin deformities or scars. Before surgery can be performed, the disease must usually be in remission (a time when the disease is not active) for several years.

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