In people with scleroderma

Module: Exercise

Jane Brandenstein, PT, and Janet Poole, PhD, OTR/L


Exercise log

Use this printout to identify an activity, and track goals and frequencies.

Printout PDF

Paraffin wax treatment

This printout provides instructions for a paraffin wax treatment.

Printout PDF

Therapy and scleroderma

Check out these helpful tips when searching for an Occupational or Physical Therapist

Printout PDF

Insurance tip sheet

Tips on verifying coverage for therapy.

Printout PDF

In people with scleroderma

  • You may want to ask your doctor for a referral to an occupational or physical therapist who can get you started and can set up and monitor your exercise program
  • Range-of-motion exercises for finger joints and other joints must be started early in the course of the disease before there is any observed loss of motion.
  • The purpose of range-of-motion exercises is to prevent or slow down the development of joint contractures.
  • Sometimes using heat before doing exercises can help relax the tissues. Heat can include the use of paraffin baths for hands or feet, an electric moist heating pad (e.g. the Thermophore), microwaveable hot packs, and warm showers or baths. These heat applications should be warm, but not hot, as you could burn your skin. Use these for 15 to 20 minutes and no longer than half an hour. Instructions for using paraffin are included at the end of this module.
  • Range-of-motion exercises should be done frequently (2-3 times/day) and beyond the point of initial resistance.
  • Individuals are encouraged to maintain a position of stretch for 3 to 5 seconds, even if the skin blanches (turns white).

Under the resource section, see the handouts on “Therapy and scleroderma” and “Insurance for OT and PT.

Remember to breathe during stretching