Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Is this another autoimmune? Skin Thickening on thumb and fingers...

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 18 Replies
  • Posted By: Anonymous
  • January 13, 2007
  • 04:15 AM

I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 3 yrs ago after a miscarriage. Since then I had two more miscarriages and was rediagnosed as having Hashimoto syndrome. During the past 3 years I have had this annoying symptom of the skin thickening on my thumbs and index fingers. They rarely occur on both hands at the same time, thank goodness. It starts off with a slight pain to the tip of the thumb (or finger), then I will notice that the sense of touch to the area is no longer normal and sure enough the skin at the tip will be thicker. It will continue to thicken for a few days and then starts to crack and peel away. Thick pieces, like several layers at once seem to break off leaving very sensitive and tender skin underneath. It has never involved the whole digit. Just the tip and rarely to the first knuckle. My regular doctor said that it probably had to do with the hypothyroid. But my endocrinologist told me that it was most likely another autoimmune. I don't know what to think anymore. I just know that this is so annoying and embarrassing at times. If anyone has any ideas it would help. Thanks.

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18 Replies:

  • I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 3 yrs ago after a miscarriage. Since then I had two more miscarriages and was rediagnosed as having Hashimoto syndrome. During the past 3 years I have had this annoying symptom of the skin thickening on my thumbs and index fingers. They rarely occur on both hands at the same time, thank goodness. It starts off with a slight pain to the tip of the thumb (or finger), then I will notice that the sense of touch to the area is no longer normal and sure enough the skin at the tip will be thicker. It will continue to thicken for a few days and then starts to crack and peel away. Thick pieces, like several layers at once seem to break off leaving very sensitive and tender skin underneath. It has never involved the whole digit. Just the tip and rarely to the first knuckle. My regular doctor said that it probably had to do with the hypothyroid. But my endocrinologist told me that it was most likely another autoimmune. I don't know what to think anymore. I just know that this is so annoying and embarrassing at times. If anyone has any ideas it would help. Thanks.Do you know what Kawasaki's Syndrome is? It is inflammation of that type with no known reason. It kills babies, mostly in Asia. I honestly think that Kawasaki's inflammation/like symptoms have to do with the immune system being out of whack. Perhaps something about internal intoxication. Kawasaki causes unexplained inflammation of the organs; in my case I had a brain inflammation and a liver inflammation at 2 different times but no viruses or bacterias were found- also my tongue was like an strawberry tongue- which is also a Kawasaki's symptom.Adults are not diagnosed with Kawasaki- but the peeling of the fingers and sometimes the feet due to inflammation are part of the mystery that medicine can't figure out about Kawasaki.If I had to take a guess- I would say you have internal toxicity and maybe your diet is too acid and that's why your immune system is creating antigens to saturation. Oriental babies feed on rice and milk ( very acidic food)- and they are the most common victims of this terrible syndrome that makes them swollen and feverish from head to toe with out any treatment that can help but ant-inflammatory drugs.The bottom line is, you are not alone.Get quercetin and luteolin supplements and make sure they are in your diet.Avoid nightshades: tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, and eggplant as they cause inflammation. You need to eat food that goes easy on the immune system- because when it gets aggravated it will injure the body.Take Care!
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 13, 2007
    • 05:22 AM
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  • Hi, I have the same symptom of thickening in the fingertips and then the skin splitting and peeling. I also have hashimoto's in addition to a past history of sarcoidosis. I would be very interested to know if you find out anything. By the way, have you tried checking your TSH when you have this symptom? I just checked mine and it was a bit high, so I'm hoping that once I get it back down to normal maybe the fingertip problem will go away.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • November 11, 2007
    • 04:54 AM
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  • I have the same exact thing. I have only had it about 2 weeks. The tips of my thumbs and forefingers get very dry and hard and then start to peel. It's very unpleasant. I went to the dermatologist and he gave me some Cortizone cream. He did not say what causes it or how to get rid of it. Does anyone know what this is and what to do about it?Jeff
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • November 15, 2007
    • 09:48 PM
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  • I have the same thing, had it for two years now. It comes and goes in cycles and only affects the tips of thumb, index, and second finger. When the thickened skin peels of, usually the skin underneath cracks and I get bleeding wounds that heal slowly. My doctor and a couple of skin specialists explained it with my being an allergic and delicat type (which doesn't really rhyme with anything else). I tried a treatment with x-rays. That worked for a while, the bad news is I can only undergo it six times in a lifetime, because of the cancer risk. If anyone has any knowledge or solutions I would be happy to hear it.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 5, 2008
    • 05:22 PM
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  • i just wanted to say that dude is way off the mark on kawasaki's. So, uh... don't worry about that.
    fewd4thought 126 Replies
    • January 6, 2008
    • 07:56 AM
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  • Have you been tested for Scleroderma (CREST)...have an ANA blood test done to be sure.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • January 8, 2008
    • 06:47 PM
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  • I just wanted to say that the other person was somewhat right on the Kawasaki's. It does come from Asia and the peeling and cracking can occur, etc. But this is a pretty severe disease. I think it would be accompanied by more than cracking skin, soles, fingertips, etc. My cousin's little boy had it, which it mostly occurs in males under the age of 7, but it attacked his heart and it almost killed him. He was extremely lethargic at the onset accompanied by a fever. Similar to that of scarlet fever, which is an acute febrile disease of children. He had to take an aspirin for a year after that. It also stunted his growth, but he's all caught up today. He did end up with ADD, which they said is common after having the disease. He's 16 and doing fine, though. I just don't know if I would diagnose myself with Kawasaki's because of dry and peeling skin. :)
    5kidMom 1 Replies
    • January 2, 2009
    • 03:59 PM
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  • Kawasaki's is a disease of childhood, not of reproductive age women, so it should not enter the differential. The desquamation and cardiac problems, while they may resemble those seen in many other disorders, do not necessarily share the same etiological origins.Bullous and desquamative rashes are also seen in sunburn. Sunburn should not necessarily enter the differential for this individual.Thus kawasaki's syndrome, a syndrome occuring in childhood, almost exclusively under the age of 5, can be disregarded.
    fewd4thought 126 Replies
    • January 2, 2009
    • 11:28 PM
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  • This is due to localized myxedema and although it appears in alternating patterns at this point, it will likely be present bilaterally at some point. It is associated with thyroid conditions. Treatment is available and I would suggest a different endocrinologist if they are unable to recognize localized myxedema in a patient with Hashimoto's disease. While not entirely common, it does occur with some frequency. Best regards, J Cottle, MD
    JCottleMD 580 Replies
    • January 3, 2009
    • 01:36 AM
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  • I must second Wine Princess' suggestion that you should be checked for CREST scleroderma. Go to a rheumatologist and ask for the antinuclear antibodies test (ANA). If that is positive ask for a test of the anti-centromere B antibodies. Hashimoto's often goes along with CREST. I have both.
    DaisyDo 13 Replies Flag this Response
  • Just wanted to share that I have the exact same thing but i do not have hashimoto's thyroiditis or any other medical conditions that i'm aware of. However, I get the same thing where the proximal third or my thumb just keeps peeling off. it started two and a half years ago. It would start as a red hot dot underneath the skin that i could see but quickly....day later the skin over that place would harden and start peeling off. When it peeled off i noticed that it is composed of many layers, some layers seem to have no attachement at all and just fall off when the top layer peels off. As i said it started as small dots that would come and go but now it takes up half my thumb. It's very frustrating and i've been to the dermatologist a few times but they have no idea what that is, they just keep giving me steroid creams and extra lotion. Recently it *****d me off so much that i took a knife and just made a deep cut down the middle of the thumb just to see how fast it would heel. The cut didn't do much the bleeding stoped and the wound resolved normally but it had no affect on the skin. I also tried dr. shoels freez away warts and it had no affect either. It still peels off and looks really bad ...the skin is rather flat and if someone asked me to give my thumb for finger print it wouldn't work cause the skin is just flat because of so much peeling off. If anyone has any suggestions please help cause I don't wanna keep going to the doctor and wasting my money just to get the same answer from them.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • October 7, 2009
    • 02:41 AM
    • 0
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  • Just wanted to share that I have the exact same thing but i do not have hashimoto's thyroiditis or any other medical conditions that i'm aware of. However, I get the same thing where the proximal third or my thumb just keeps peeling off. it started two and a half years ago. It would start as a red hot dot underneath the skin that i could see but quickly....day later the skin over that place would harden and start peeling off. When it peeled off i noticed that it is composed of many layers, some layers seem to have no attachement at all and just fall off when the top layer peels off. As i said it started as small dots that would come and go but now it takes up half my thumb. It's very frustrating and i've been to the dermatologist a few times but they have no idea what that is, they just keep giving me steroid creams and extra lotion. Recently it *****d me off so much that i took a knife and just made a deep cut down the middle of the thumb just to see how fast it would heel. The cut didn't do much the bleeding stoped and the wound resolved normally but it had no affect on the skin. I also tried dr. shoels freez away warts and it had no affect either. It still peels off and looks really bad ...the skin is rather flat and if someone asked me to give my thumb for finger print it wouldn't work cause the skin is just flat because of so much peeling off. If anyone has any suggestions please help cause I don't wanna keep going to the doctor and wasting my money just to get the same answer from them.The inside of both my thumbs have this skin thickening, right above the joint - I started getting this in the winter time only several years at pre-menopausal age. I started using progesterone creams and kelp for my thyroid, and I seemed to be able to get it under control for a while. Well, this year, my thyroid showed weak (T3 and T4) and instead of going on armour thyroid, I chose to try iodine supplements - 6.5 mg... and I just upped it to 2 a day. I cut out the kelp since I was on the iodine, and have continued with the progesterone cream... but for some reason this crusty skin has come back. There's no itchiness associated with it, but like everyone has said, it has very tender, pink skin underneath if you peel the layers away, and will even bleed. The whole area seems to be hypersensitive. I'm going to stay the course with what I'm doing for 6 weeks or so, and see if it clears up... it may be my body trying to adjust to the changes in supplements. Any other help from anyone would be greatly appreciated.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • February 7, 2010
    • 02:05 PM
    • 0
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  • I have suffered from this for about 15 years. 4 months ago i had an itch on my foot and the chiropodist prescribed an ointment called Mycota. I tried this on my splitting thumb and it healed it up with reduced agro in a couple of days. I have used it over the last 4 months and it seems to work every time. Might just be me but worth a try. It is only a couple of quid per tube from the chemist.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • November 8, 2010
    • 00:36 PM
    • 0
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  • I have the same exact thing. I have only had it about 2 weeks. The tips of my thumbs and forefingers get very dry and hard and then start to peel. It's very unpleasant. I went to the dermatologist and he gave me some Cortizone cream. He did not say what causes it or how to get rid of it. Does anyone know what this is and what to do about it?JeffHope all of you no longer have the skin problem. Anyways, I would like to share my experience. I had similar problems, i.e., thickening of finger tips, becoming dry and hardened and then cracked, peeled, bleed ... I had seen two dermatologists, was tested for allergies, tried different prescription creams (including cortisone 5%, very potent). Nothing worked!!! Problem got worse and I feared that I would lose all my fingers. I even started developing ezcema over other parts of my body, including my feet, arms, shoulders ... Then I accidentally discovered that my blood sugar was probably the cause. As my blood sugar improved, my skin condition improved. When my blood sugar worsen, my fingers started to thicken. Back then (2005) my HbA1c was 7%. It took 4 years for my skin to heal. Now my HbA1C is around 6.1%, my fasting blood sugar is below 5, while after food is between 5 to 6.5. (I want to get it lower but it is difficult) and I no longer have problems with my fingers. My eczema is 99% cleared. I am hoping that if I am able to achieve HbA1c below 5.5%, the one spot (near my arm) will be cleared. Wish me good luck.jc
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • I have dealt with this exact same thing for twenty years now, since I was 16 years old. I have been to several doctors and none have given a definitive diagnosis. Coincidentally, I have had problems with hypothyroidism. It comes and goes, which I find strange, but one doctor told me is normal. I believe I have been tested for Hashimotos, as my little sister has it, but I was told I do not have that. It used to be that I would only have a flare up once or twice a year that would only last a couple weeks or so, but in recent years my breakouts have been more frequent, with the latest one lasting more than six months. It sucks. It's painful, ugly, and embarrassing. I envy people with beautiful hands. I have been prescribed steroid cream, which worked for a while, but not anymore. I have been thinking most recently that stress and poor diet aggravates it. I'm going to try to drink more water, take multivitamins, and am playing with the idea of cutting out wheat. I'm desperate for any answers and will try anything at this point.
    BetsyJ 4 Replies
    • October 18, 2013
    • 05:10 AM
    • 0
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  • I must second Wine Princess' suggestion that you should be checked for CREST scleroderma. Go to a rheumatologist and ask for the antinuclear antibodies test (ANA). If that is positive ask for a test of the anti-centromere B antibodies. Hashimoto's often goes along with CREST. I have both. I feel pretty confudebt it is not scleroderma. I know exactly what the poster is describing as I suffer from the exact same thing. The symptoms are not indicative of scleroderma.
    BetsyJ 4 Replies
    • October 18, 2013
    • 05:27 AM
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  • This sounds like contact dermatitis, most likely to a metal in doorknobs or keys. It can occur suddenly after becoming sensitized after repeated exposure, or upon exposure to a new item.
    Medimom 1 Replies
    • October 26, 2013
    • 02:41 AM
    • 0
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  • I believe the problem is internal. The flare UPS always start deep deep under the skin and then come to the surface. I have had success though with my most recent remedy attempts, although at this point I am unsure which remedy actually worked. I simultaneously cut out all wheat from my diet (very difficult!) And started taking zinc supplement as well as applying zinc oxide cream to my hands. My flare up finally cleared up, after a six plus month length battle with it. I don't know if it is coincidence or not. I don't know if it was the zinc or the wheat free diet, although I have slowly started introducing wheat back into my diet and as of yet, no flare up. I had read online that zinc deficiency can cause skin problems, as can vitamin b, d, and a deficiencies. You have to be careful with zinc though. If you take too much, it can actually suppress your immune system, and cause a copper deficiency, so a low dose once or twice a week is probably sufficient. If you take a calcium supplement with your vitamin a and d, it absorbs better too. So I would suggest vitamin a, d, b, and zinc supplements and zinc oxide on the problem area to see how that works. I know that people with wheat allergies can have skin problems too, so that might be a good option as well. I wonder too if it could just be a build up of toxins in the body, something a juice fast periodically could help. At the very least, a Colin cleansing supplement is probably a good idea. I will keep posting as to my flare up status as I continue to have wheat in my diet (although I will only be eating wheat in moderation).
    BetsyJ 4 Replies
    • November 10, 2013
    • 08:07 PM
    • 0
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