What happens in the hands and arms in persons with scleroderma?

Module: Exercise

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

  • Certain joints in the arms and hands seem to be more vulnerable to the development of contractures.
  • The large knuckle joints, called the metacarpal phalangeal (MCP) joints of the hand, can be hard to bend or flex. See Figure 1.
  • The smaller joints, the proximal interphalangeal or PIP joints, as shown in picture 1, can be hard to straighten all the way.
  • It may also be hard to bend the thumb or move the thumb away from the hand, as if you are trying to put your hand around a large glass.