The most classic symptom of scleroderma is a type of skin tightening called sclerodactyly. The initial stage of the disease involves swelling of the fingers. Later, as the connective tissue becomes fibrotic, skin on the fingers and toes becomes hard and shiny. The fingers can become difficult to bend and can form contractures due to the severe tightening of the skin.
Reviewed By: Gordon A. Starkebaum, MD, MACR, ABIM Board Certified in Rheumatology, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.