Digital ulcers

I had an ulcer on my right index finger starting 5 weeks ago it has now caused an infection underneath the nail which is extremely painful. I have had 2 courses of antibiotics, the last finishing 4 days ago, this has had no effect and the pain continues along with a pus discharge. My GP has taken swabs, still waiting for results. Has anyone any ideas of what I can do to clear this up? I need to take regular pain relief. I had Iloprost last November and am due to see Rheumotologist at end of month.

12 Replies

  • Hello there, as far as I can see you are doing all that you can! Your GP seems to be taking all the necessary steps. Ideally you need to isolate what is causing the infection and then they can use more targeted antibiotics to try to clear that infection. I would keep in close contact with your GP. I would also speak to your Rheumatologist as they may be more used to dealing with this type of thing. As you have an appointment pretty soon you may not get to see someone before then.

    Hang on in there. Keep taking regular pain relief...again check with your GP that you have the best pain relief possible. I know how you feel. I had a very long spell with multiple ulcers and infections in my fingers and it is excruciating.

    Here hoping that it will soon be sorted.

    All my best


  • Thank you am seeing GP 2morrow and Rheumatologist next Monday so hope to get sorted soon.

  • See your rheumatologist as soon as possible.

  • Have appointment for next Monday, its impossible here to get urgent appointments, system is rubbish.

  • I agree with Zenab, these ulcers can be very dangerous, the infection can spread to the bone. Ring your consultant ASAP and explain it all and take photos of the ulcers.

  • I have scleroderma and had a recurring open, weeping and very painful ulcer on my left index finger for a couple of years. From August 2014, after two courses of ineffective anti-biotics I did not return to my GP. I had a permanent dressing on it which I had to change daily and which showed green or yellow discharge. Over Christmas 2014 a friend asked me why I always wore a dressing. His mother was a trained herbalist and he was concerned to know that I was in pain. He suggested I tried dipping my finger in cider vinegar and, desperate for any solution, I did. Within a couple of weeks the ulcer began to dry up and I no longer needed a dressing. This was a miracle for me. Every now and again the remaining small dry scabbed area does feel a bit inflamed so I immediately dip my finger after hand washing and it soon dries up again. The area has not completely cleared or returned to normal healthy skin but is so much better than is was after years of pain and discharge. I have also used ordinary malt vinegar and this works just as well. I should warn that initially the pain was quite overwhelming on the open wound but I did try watering the vinegar down with a little boiled water and this made it a bit more bearable. It was all,worth it to get rid of a permanently painful and superating wound.

  • Thank you. The problem is that it has tracked underneath the nail and it is difficult to get at it easily to clean, may need to have nail removed, ouch! Will give it a try. Seeing GP 2morrow and Rheumatologist next week.

  • Dear Patience100

    Your comments are really interesting. How many times per session or day did you dip your ulcer in the cider and for how long did you keep it in the solution? Another contributor says to keep ulcers dry. Please could you describe your process? Thank you

  • I hope you got on ok with your rheumatologist. I suffer from multiple finger ulcers which usually are infected .If infection gets really bad I usually end up with intravenous antibiotics plus iloprost to help with healing. To avoid this happening a longer course of oral antibiotics plus regular cleaning and application of inadine ( mesh soaked with iodine ) placed over ulcer and then dressed with a mepore dressing / or tubingrip will help. It also is essential to keep ulcer dry . Hopefully your rheumatologist has already taken care of everything for you .He may also have suggested an x-Ray to make sure the infection hasn't gone into bone, this happened once to me , but a very long dose of antibiotics cleared it up . So don't panic if this happens , and it's not something that happens often but it's best to check if doctors think it's a possibility . Good luck , wishing you well , keep up with painkillers , I know how bad it gets!!!!!! But it will ease ,and it's luxury when it does!!!

  • I have found, so far, that my best solution is Manuka honey dressing, topped with Aquacool dressing (wound pain relief) and then plaster to cover and protect it. I also take Losartan and Sildenifil to help with the circulation. I hope this helps you.

  • I too have a very painful and long standing ulcer on my right index finger which is partially under the nail. I've been self treating it for months and am going to get it seen too properly as running into winter it is never going to get better, as I work out of doors. However, in the last week or so it has become evident that there is some calcinosis there so I think it's going to be a real problem. I dress it several times a day with germolene as that helps with the pain as well as keeping it clean but keeping a plaster or dressing on it is a nightmare due to its location, right on the head of the finger.

  • Hi,

    I too suffer badly with digital ulcers.

    Having spoken to all my consultants and trawled the internet I have found that

    "Flamazine", silver nitrate cream (aka) Falklands cream. Is far and away the best treatment. It reduces pain and promotes healing to the extent it is almost a "miracle cure". Ask your GP to prescribe you a tube (ask for two as once opened the shelf life is seven days) apply to the affected area cover with a light dressing ( I often leave it open cut strips from a plastic water bottle and tape them over the top to prevent the inevitable "bash injury". Personally I find the pain will go overnight and within a week the darn thing is pretty much sorted out.

    In future should it recur. Slap some cream on to nip it in the bud.

    I hope this works as well for you as it does for me as I know how much pain these God forsaken things can cause.

    Good luck. Mark.

You may also like...