Spontaneous finger bruising - Scleroderma & Ray...

Scleroderma & Raynaud's UK (SRUK)

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Spontaneous finger bruising


Hi, I'm new to this forum. I have had raynaud's since I was a teenager, but don't have scleroderma. Was diagnosed by a GP and have never seen anyone else about it. I'm now 52. Recently I've been getting spontaneous bruising in my fingers. I'll get a sharp pain out of the blue, then my finger swells and bruises quite badly. I'm not doing anything or am cold at the time. The bruising lasts about a week. The tip does not bruise and the finger, whilst bruised, is painful, difficult to bend and use. Also when my hands get mildly cold, the bruised finger suffers much worse than the others. The raynauds is much worse and it goes completely numb/tingly and that lasts longer than the bruising. I've mentioned it a couple of times to 2 different GPS. One did blood tests and said all was fine and he couldn't explain it, the other shrugged his shoulders and said it was probably raynauds, but I can't find anything online about raynauds causing spontaneous bruising. I should say I'm currently having investigations because I'm having issues with unexplained anaemia. Does anyone else have any experience of this? I've attached a picture.

66 Replies

Hello there, I am glad that they are continuing to investigate as clearly there is something a little unusual occurring with your health at present. I am sure that your GP is doing a good job at investigating and will be asking you all the right questions, but is this the only place that you are getting bruising? Have you noticed any darkening of your bowel movements, or urine? There might be a connection between the anaemia and the blood loss you are seeing in your hands, but it needs a specialist to diagnose. I think your GP needs to consider specialist advice, possibly from a haematologist? I am sure they will get to the bottom of it. Be persistent in getting it investigated.

All my best

Lucy x

Julesboz in reply to LucyJean

Thanks for your response. I wish the GPs took things as seriously as you do. The impression I've been given is that I'm making a fuss out of nothing and it's all in my head. I've been suffering from anaemia on and off for 2 years and all sorts of GI issues and newly developed food intolerances for the last 5 years. The finger bruising is also over the last few years but none of the GPS I've spoken to has seemed to care about it and they don't seem to connect it with anything else apart from the raynauds. When I was badly anaemic I did bruise very easily everywhere but that needed a bump (although very mild) and the finger bruising seems different. I've been referred to a GI specialist because of the GI issues and anaemia, but I've never seen anyone or taken any drugs about the raynauds.

LucyJean in reply to Julesboz

HI there, At least you have a specialist involved in your care. I go back to wondering about whether a different type of specialist would help, as I said maybe a haematologist (someone who specialises in blood disorders), or perhaps a Rheumatologist? The bruising is not typical of Raynauds. Raynauds is about poor circulation to the periphery and occurs in the hands, feet and nose. Bruising is about actual damage to the blood vessels. The only conditions I can think of from a Rheumatology perspective where there is bruising is Lupus or Antiphospholipid syndrome, hence me asking you about it before. I assume they are aware of your platelet count in your blood? Have they done any blood tests called an Antinuclear Antibody test (ANAs)?

Lucy x

Julesboz in reply to LucyJean

Hi Lucy, no I don't believe they've tested ANAs. I will look up what that means. Thanks :-)

LucyJean in reply to Julesboz

Antinuclear antibody tests are used to diagnose a whole range of connective tissue diseases: both types of scleroderma, lupus, myositis, mixed connective tissue disease and sjogrens.

Julesboz in reply to LucyJean

Ah, ok, thanks for enlightening me. No I'm sure that hasn't been done. I may mention it next time I go to the GP, if I pluck up the courage :-)

Babykitty in reply to LucyJean

Lucy, I just got back from the ER for spontaneous bruising (coupled with numbness) of my thumb. The ER doc said the spasms that cause the Raynaud's episodes was enough this time to actually burst the vessels.

TraceM in reply to Babykitty

Hi, I get this too. I haven't been diagnosed with raynauds though I'm pretty sure I have it. Sometimes randomly I get a sharp pain in one of my fingertips look down to see a bulging vein popped out then as it goes down it bruises, it's very painful. Does that happen to you? I thought maybe it's some type of vasculitis? Doctor looked at me like I was stupid when I mentioned it.

Healthjm in reply to TraceM

Hi there . I just had the same experience for the first time TraceM. Have you found the cause/ been diagnosed?

Hope you’ve found answers and relief.

OscarCat in reply to Julesboz

Hi there,

I know is this is an old post but I've just signed up specifically because of what you've written. Same spontaneous bruising and in fingers, and also suffer Reynauds. Currently undergoing screening for celiac. Low iron, fatigue and whole host of symptoms in an otherwise previously healthy person (I'm 42).

I apologise in advance for the question but I'm currently researching a lot about BII (breast implant illness) - I had implants 4 years ago and reading all te symptoms other people are experiencing has made me seriously consider having. them taken out.

Is this something you can relate to at all? Again, sorry for the intrusive question, but I'd be very interested in your response.

Thanks for reading,


Julesboz in reply to OscarCat

Hi there, sorry I’ve not had breast implants so all my unexplained symptoms are still unexplained. Mine all started in my mid 40s (I’m now 53 and have finally started menopause symptoms). My current theory, which has no scientific backing or corroboration by a doctor, is that I’ve been perimenopausal and my hormone imbalances have thrown my body out of whack and caused loads of different and strange problems. I started on natural progesterone cream a couple of months ago and am hoping that will help.

OscarCat in reply to Julesboz


Thanks for your reply.

I suppose symptoms like these can be so varied it's hard to pinpoint something. I think in your gut you usually have some idea of what's wrong.

I hope the progesterone helps .

All the best.

Burlgirl in reply to OscarCat

Hi there. I get the same thing. Today I got it in the pad of my hand for the first time, below my index finger. I've done a bit of research and Achenbach's syndrome matches my symptoms. It seems to be painful but harmless.

Hi Julesboz yes I get bruising on fingers. One just appeared this morning while I was holding vaccum cleaner and it's in the same place as I had bruise a couple of weeks ago. Once it happened as I was drying my hands. I have scleroderma but only mild raynauds. I think someone posted about this in the past but cant remember if it was on this site or lupus uk. I seem to remember a number of people having similar experiences.

Julesboz in reply to nanagill

Oh that's interesting thanks nanagill. So is it something that's common with scleroderma?

I'm really not sure if it's just scleroderma or autoimmune in general but having said that my son who has no autoimmune issues (at least none we're aware of!) has had a couple in the past. I have no anaemia problems so maybe your anaemia is from something else. It's all a bit mysterious :) Try typing 'bruises' in the search box at top right of page to read past posts on this subject.

Hi jules...i may have something similar...but there can be various causes for this sort of thing. I have posted about these sort of tissue bleeds several times over the years on my various HU forums, and my impression is that these can be fairly commonplace & innocent even in relatively “healthy” people. However, in my case, these bleeds are manifestations of my immune dysfunction & connective tissue disorders. Here is some background:

Am 64 and diagnosed with infant onset systemic lupus (SLE) as well as early onset Hypermobile Ehlers Danlos Syndrime (hEDS) + hypogammaglobulinaemia G,A,M (a type of Primary Immunodeficiency (PID) & Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID)). Of course over the decades i’ve been diagnosed with a typical collection of secondaries: eg raynauds began in childhood, eventually that became simultaneous with erythromelalgia. I also have sjogrens & small vessel vasculitis etc etc

So, i began to get these bleeds in my early 20s. They occurred in my hands/fingers, mouth (inside cheeks & tongue + down throat), before long feet/toes, eventually ankles/shins. NHS oral sugery thought the mouth bleeds caused by: Angina Bullosa Heamorrhaghica. Rheumatology decided the non-oral tissue bleeds are Paroxysmal Haematomas mainly related to my hEDS. But there is a condition called Achenbach’s Syndrome which causes these sort of bleeds in finger tissues, here is a link:


Basically, i just live with these bleeds...i do think the frequency slightly decreases when my general condition is relatively “better” eg inflammatory process relatively less active thanks to my daily combined therapy prescription meds.

And i do think you should discuss your version of these with your doctors. Hope you’ll let us know how you get on

🍀🍀🍀🍀 coco

Julesboz in reply to Barnclown

Oh thanks for that, I'll look up Achenbachs syndrome. Yes, I googled my symptoms and found loads of people with the same thing and no-one with answers as to why. My doctors also shrug their shoulders. I'm not worried about it being anything serious, I'm just one of those people who's not satisfied with 'it just happens, it's not serious, don't worry', I prefer to know why these things happen and then see if I can do something about it to improve symptoms! Maybe that's the problem, I'm just a pain :-) anyway thanks for giving me something to look for that may be a reason!

Barnclown in reply to Julesboz

Am v much relating to your reply. I’m similar: cope best when i understand. I asked medics about my bleeds for several decades before finally getting convincing explanations. This is why i make a point of replying when someone posts about these...i v much like the term you’ve used: spontaneous bruising. This is a term my chief of rheumatology would like too 👍. My feeling is: you aren’t a pain, nor am i...we’re enquiring, proactive, responsible patients 😉

For what it’s worth, my impression is that my version of these hand/feet etc paroxysmal haematomas is mainly due to a lifetime of hEDS connective tissue deterioration + autoimmune inflammatory process causing small vessel vasculitis....which compromises the integrity of my capillaries (the smallest blood vessels in our bodies)

Hi Julesboz

I'm SO glad you posted about this because I suffer from exactly the same bruising and, like you, I have asked various medical professionals what it is. So far, I've been met with stoney silence or the easy default 'it's probably Raynauds'. Also like you, I can find no evidence of a concrete link to Raynauds despite extensive research.

Had nearly given up finding any answers when I saw your post but I've now resolved to raise this yet again at the next appointment with my rheumatologist (I also have SLE and Sjogren's) because it's really bad at the moment. This week alone, six of my ten digits have bruised and subsequently swelled as you've described, with one of them 'bursting', as I often call it, twice in 3 days.

If it's okay with you, could I please take your picture and description to show him as you've described it so well?

I don't think people (doctors) appreciate how a) painful, b) unsightly (people often ask me if I've shut my finger in a door!) and c) debilitating (I normally have no sensation or ability at all in the affected finger for at least 2 days) it is and, even if there isn't a cure/treatment, I'd really appreciate an acknowledgement that it DOES happen.

Does this bruising only occur in your fingers or does it affect your toes as well?

I'm sorry I've banged on a bit but it's such a relief to know that I'm not alone with this. I know that doesn't help you at all but you should feel good that you've at least given me some comfort and hope of an answer.

Here's hoping that one of us will get to the bottom of this. 😰

Julesboz in reply to lupieibbie

Hi there, oh that sounds terrible 6 of your fingers doing this! It's bad enough with one. Funnily enough, my finger was just about recovered from the last bout then it did it again this weekend and I've spent the weekend being unable to use it. It's very frustrating, painful and debilitating. I have also discovered it's probably nothing to do with the raynauds as I happened to mention it to my sister this weekend and, unbeknownst to me, it happens to her too and she doesn't have raynauds! She gets it in her fingers and toes but not as bad as me, but I only get it in my fingers. Good luck with your rheumatologist. I really hope you get an answer. I think you've got more chance than I have as I've only got the GPS. Here's crossing my fingers for you!

lupieibbie in reply to Julesboz

Thanks for your reply, Julesboz.

It's a right pain (literally and metaphorically!) but you've now given me renewed energy to get to the bottom of it. Seeing my rheumy at the beginning of January so if I find out anything to help us I'll let you know. I'd cross my fingers if I could! 😬

In the meantime, I'm back on google following Barnclown's suggestions (thanks B, for being our very own in-house expert) of Aschenbach's or small vessel vasculitis.

Take care.

Julesboz in reply to lupieibbie

Sorry, I forgot to add, of course you can use the picture and take it to your rheumatologist :-)

Hi there - I also have Raynaud's and now this weird unexplained bruising on my finger joints. My Raynauds gave me problems when I was a teenager, and I have been very lucky and have not had any issues with it for almost 20 years now. Last week this unexplained pain and bruise appeared on my left hand (palm) where my pointer finger joint is. That was there about a week with mild pain at that spot. It is not completely better as I still have sensivity in the joint when I open a door knob (for example). Yesterday I got another unexplained bruise, this time on the right hand pointer finger joint...not the same joint, but on the middle part of my finger itself. What the heck is this? I may need to call my GP.

Julesboz in reply to Cmattiske

Hi there cmattiske, well I posted this 10 months ago and I’m no more enlightened than I was then. It’s still unexplained and the doctors are still not worried about it. I’m now over my anaemia too. It definitely happens more in spring, autumn and winter than it does in summer though. Talk to you’re GP but I suspect, if it’s anything like mine and how most people describe it, I’ll be put down to ‘one of those things’. Good luck!

That's interesting to hear what you say. I too have Raynaud's (have for years) and just today was sent to the ER because of spontaneous bruising (with numbness) to my thumb. The interesting part of what you said was the anemia. I had I.V. iron treatments about 11 months ago because my iron was so low. Of note: I found this site because I was searching the internet for the very same thing you say in your post. Not enough info out there!

Hi, I've just had this same finger bruising. Well I had it first a few months ago. A sharp pain at first as you describe, then a bruise and warmth spreading from the painful joint. I'm 39 and this has never happened before a few months ago, now it's happened on 2 different fingers again today. I wasn't cold, I was taking my raynaulds pills (Adalat Retard 10mg 2x a day), and it felt like it happened as I was doing something, nothing especially straining just gripping a thing or whatever. I bent a finger then it felt like a pain burst in that joint. I also had a weird mini bleed in my neck a few weeks back. Went to gp and got a blood test form which I never did... partly because it felt so minor and it felt like a very tiny complaint... Have got haemophilia in the family (past tests always negative) so didn't make raynauld's connection, that makes a bit more sense. Why now though, feels like it's suddenly started out of nowhere...

I'm the same as Babykitty. I have had anemia on and off since I was 5yrs old and now 53 and currently back on ferratin for anemia. I have trouble with joint pain currently and bruise easily but the last 2 days a bruise has developed at the base of my thumb prior to this both thumb joints have been painful and i have done nothing for this to happen. I have had ANA tests but nothing substantial has shown up. I had a hysterectomy 8yrs ago hoping it would help with the anemia but has done anything. Currently I'm seeing a General Physician who is reviewing everything.

2013 I have had issues with my mouth where any food or drink was hot even when it wasn't and no medical personal I saw could explain until a friend recommended AMC because I had lost a lot of weight and as strange as it may sound the Dr there said to try putting vegemite on the roof of my mouth ( a trial thing that was cheap and not a medication). The most weird thing it was instant relief and I also noticed that it didn't have a salty taste until about 3 weeks down the track of using it every day 3 to 4 times a day. I still have tingling in my mouth but can eat normally and enjoy food again. The Dr at AMC found I was low in Progesterone so currently take this. I have also had issues with my face going numb and the Dr believes it is Trigeminal neuralgia and I have medication to help. Dr's believe all brought on by stress possibly, except the anemia and now the bruising. I walk everyday but some days my fingers are quite swollen by the time I get home after 30-45mins. Winter time my fingers go white and feel numb and then get itchy as circulation comes back. Some mornings getting out of bed my feet do not want to move they are very stiff, once I get moving they get better. Changing weather really makes my hands ache.

It's nice to read all the above comments, I'm not quite feeling so strange after all.

I have had the same thing for a few years now. Well, raynaud's since I was a teenager, but the finger and toe bruising for the last few years. I did my own internet research and thought it sounded like Achenbach's, as someone else had mentioned. It seems that the two diagnoses do go together and the Achenbach syndrome occurs in middle aged women (I am 48) so I feel reassured by that.

Julesboz in reply to dssr2006

Hi, funnily enough I went to see a rheumatologist last week and he said it’s achenbach’s which he described as a variant of raynauds. Like you I’ve had raynauds since I was a teenager and the spontaneous bruising is a new thing in the last couple of years. I’m 53.


I have never had Raynaud's syndrome, but I have had finger bruising (and elsewhere on the body) for years. It is known as Aschenbach syndrome but no GP has ever recognised it as a problem - they don't seem to know anything about it. The bruises go away quite soon. I think it is genetic as all the females in my family have it.

Julesboz in reply to squirrels29

Yes the rheumatologist told me it’s harmless, despite being painful and sometimes limits what you can do.

I get these finger things and it exactly matches the Achenbach-syndrome, right down to the sharp or stinging pain thingy; it's not a severe sting like being cut, however. I do have (mild, thankfully) Reynaud's. The only anomaly is that I'm male, and Achebach's is almost exclusively female, and as often as not I can correlate it with some local pressure event that had occurred at the same time or slightly before. Typically sufferers can't find any association.

The pressure doesn't have to be hard, but it's weird that 99% of the time something that really should provoke the incident doesn't, which is fortunate. Throughout a normal day we do have to grab handles, tools, screwdrivers pretty hard. In the morning it my habit to break a (vitamin C) tablet in half using the same knuckle as a fulcrum to break it over that could well be a bruising culprit a month later. Last night my thumb, except the tip, bruised in a big patch above the final joint, but I couldn't recall any provocation. Only the alerting sting.

Hendersons in reply to danR2

Me too

Thank you so much for posting this. I have been at a loss and desperately looking for answers. I was one of the youngest diagnosed with Raynauds up in Boston. I not only have it in my feet and hands but also my chest and lips. I would black out a lot as a teenage because the blood wasn't getting to my brain. I was treated like a science experiment at hospital where I was diagnosed. Apparently, they hadn't seen it in someone so young and so severe. later I was diagnosed with prothrombin gene mutation. So I over clot. As of last week I had spontaneous bruising, swelling, itching and burning in my right middle finger at the knuckle for no reason. I went to urgent care where they initially thought I had an arterial blockage in my finger and I was sent to the emergency hospital. Unfortunately, the doctors there were at a loss. In the 4 hours I sat at the hospital the Drs took many pictures of my finger with their cell phones. They had me hold cold things, and warm things to see if there were any changes. Frustrated by the lack of real help, I left. A week after my finger seemed to have fully healed only to happen again. This time it was without the burning and itching. This time it was much more painful causing weakness and pain down to my elbow and across to my index finger and thumb. The only finger that bruised was the middle finger as before. The pain lasted two days. I have an appointment with a vascular surgeon in 2 weeks. My concern is that this is going to keep happening. How often does everyone have an episode? I am currently 41. Everyone that I have read about experiencing similar issues are 48 and above. Did anyone experience more frequent episodes as they got older? I was planning on going back to school to be an orthodontic assistant in April. Now that this is happening I don't know if i should. What were the tests done to diagnose whether or not you have Achenbach's syndrome???

Julesboz in reply to ddv7s

Hi there, no I didn’t have tests for achenbachs, the rheumatologist looked at the photos. He did other tests to rule out anything more serious though. I’ve been getting these for a couple of years now and they vary in frequency, but do tend to happen mainly in spring and autumn, I guess with the temperature changes. I do suffer from unexplained iron, folic acid and B12 deficiencies and they do seem to happen more when my folic acid is low (it doesn’t have to be deficient though). This could be a co-incidence? Good luck with your investigations!

I'm 53 and having spontaneous bruising on my hands. I also have unexplained anemia being investigated. Never been diagnosed with Raynauds or Scleroderma. I have pain in my thumbs especially when holding or trying to undo a jar or squeeze something. I become stiff easily and especially notice this at night when I have to get up to go to loo or let the dog out for loo stop, my feet are like bricks and take a bit to get moving.

Julesboz in reply to Travel53

Sounds similar. I have raynauds but no other autoimmune disease, still have unexplained iron loss. The rheumatologist I saw says it’s achenbachs syndrome, which is fortunately benign.

Wow! You’re the first person I have found that has this issue! I have Raynauds, Sjogrens, hashimotos, MS, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, and a couple other autoimmune diseases...I thought I was just super weird. Well, I’m still super weird, but at least someone else has this weird issue too!

Considering the number of replies I’ve had to this response, I think it’s actually not uncommon. The good news is that it seems to be benign, just annoying and painful!


Hi, I am so pleased I’ve found someone else that has this condition as well as me. I went to the doctors and they were baffled by it. couldn’t give me an explanation.

I seemed to get it when doing cleaning such as vacuuming or turning a door handle for example.

Starts off itching and burning and then bruising that sometimes spreads to hand. Tends to be index or middle finger. Occasionally the finger feels numb for a short while.

It seemed to get worse at one point and as a process of elimination realised it was when I had started to take fish oil supplements, and read that they thin your blood. When I stopped taking the supplements I didn’t have any more bruising for several months. I still occasionally get bruising but nothing like I did previously.

I think it is Achenbachs syndrome after lots of googling, apparently nothing to worry about.

I hope this may help others too.

Hi, this is one of my new things as of today, I thought it may be this Achenbachs too after reading/seeing it. Oh joy, another thing to add to the list! Thanks for posting 🙂 If anyone has any ideas for the pain, please share!

Julesboz in reply to LH44

Hi there, well you’re not alone! I posted this over a year ago and people are still responding so a lot of people suffer from this. Sorry no tips re the pain unfortunately, I find I just have to wait until an episode works itself out.

Karenjune in reply to Julesboz

Hi Jules, I have exactly the same, my iron is very low and I have had blood transfusions in the past. I am 57 now and about 10 years ago I thought I had broken my finger it went black and was extremely painful I didn't go to the doctors as was not sure what was going on after about a week it completely went back to normal. Since then I have had it many times most recently it happens about once a month and the trigger can be a simple thing like openng the car door, I feel something twang and then the pain followed by deep bruising mainly around the joints running up the inside of my hand, it lasts about a week then goes.

Achenbach's syndrome. Paroxysmal hand hematoma. I've been researching this as a disorder similar to Raynaud's, but without several fingers involved. It's primarily common on the index and middle finger, but my first experience was in the wrist. The rest of them have been in those areas. It appears to be autoimmune/genetic in nature as I have several autoimmune issues that have developed over the past 15 years- hashimoto's, celiac, anemia.

The rheumatologist told me that it’s not autoimmune. They don’t know the cause. I’ve been told repeatedly that I don’t have any autoimmune disorders, which is obviously good, but still doesn’t explain why I get all these unexplained things happening to me.

Hello, i also have that last month and i have that again last night. I dont know what it is.

Hi, I realise this post was a while ago but I am suffering the same problem, I think.

I'm 60, I don't have Raynaud's, but in the last 5 months I've had 2 spontaneous bruises appear on the underside of 2 different fingers, 2 on the undersides of one of my big toes and a smaller toe ( while I was sitting watching TV ) and a particularly large one on the top of my hand between the first two knuckles as I pulled back a curtain - no trauma. I have had it happen about 2 or 3 times in total over the past 10 years; not sure why I'm suddenly getting so many, though I have been a bit more sedentary recently while recovering from a sprained ankle.

It starts off with a sharp pain which draws my attention to the place, then a blue mark appears - essentially a bruise, which gradually turns purple then brown etc as the days go by.

I have'nt seen my GP as yet, it does'nt sound as if I'm going to get much help there. Achenbach Syndrome certainly seems the likeliest explanation.

I just wanted to let you all know that the one thing I have found helpful for the pain is Arnica Cream. Very best wishes.

Julesboz in reply to Foxglove8

Hi there, it certainly sounds like achenbachs. I suffer from iron, folic acid and b12 deficiencies. I’ve found that when my folic acid levels are low the achenbachs is worse (apparently low folic acid causes low platelets so that makes sense), so it may be a good idea I feel you get your folic acid tested.

Jmiller623 in reply to Foxglove8

Do your fingers and toes get cold or hot when this happens? Are you on aspirin or blood thinners? I would make sure you aren’t throwing tiny tiny blood clots from recent injury and being sedentary. Small clots will cause necrosis which is what you describe with brown discoloration. Do you ever get ulcers/skin tears?

Thanks very much, you could well be right.

I get exactly the same thing. But always only the rt hand middle finger. First thing thought an insect sting. Happens regularly.

Happened again yesterday.

Finger swollen. Down past knuckle. Deep bruising today. Etc

I do not have either condition. I googled "why do I bruise my fingers when vacuuming." I found your post. I bruise on the hand that is not pushing the vacuum. I'm thinking it might have something to do with the way I manipulate the cord out of the way. It happens about once a month.

Hi, I'm 45,female and also have Reynaud's. Just the other day the same thing happened to me in the top of my pointer finger. I felt a pinge of pain out of nowhere, almost as if I were hit with a snapped elastic. When I looked my finger was instantly red and purple, swollen, stiff and sore. Pain stopped pretty quickly, but the bruising's still there.. Weirdest thing ever. I don't know what to make of it!?

Julesboz in reply to Winnii

Fortunately, if it is achenbachs, then it’s benign and won’t cause any long term issues. If you’re worried go and see your gp to check it is achenbachs.


I had this happen in my left thumb out of the blue a few months ago after attending my son’s graduation ceremony - lots of clapping but not hard. It was exactly as you all describe - stinging, burning sensation on the inner side of thumb joint and then it spread into a dark red and then purple bruise.

I have Raynaud’s secondary to Sjögren’s and am also Hypothyroid. I learned about Achenbach’s when I posted a photo of this on Lupus UK HU - was more curious than worried. It went after a few days - never had it before or since. I don’t know if the numbers of responses here mean it’s quite common in the general population or with Raynaud’s or with autoimmune.

I know it’s benign but like you I’m curious as to why it occurs spontaneously in some people and why most of the literature says it’s rare yet it clearly isn’t from all these responses?! Maybe the clue lies in the fact that it’s far more common in women and so are most autoimmune diseases?

Julesboz in reply to Hidden

I think the literature says it’s rare because either people don’t go to the doctors about it or when they do, doctors don’t do anything about it so it’s not reported. I think, from the amount of responses here, it’s actually very common! I have a problem with retaining vitamins/minerals and have noticed that this happens more when my folate is low. It’s known that you can have low platelets when folic acid deficient, so it would make sense that bruising would be more frequent. It’s just my unscientific theory, and I’m sure it’s different for everyone else, but I think it’s the reason behind my attacks.

Hidden in reply to Julesboz

Yes I agree about it probably not being rare. My theory for myself is that it’s due to small vessel instability caused by (undiagnosed) EDS/ hypermobility. I have very widespread small fibre neuropathy and this can show as frequent bruising and scarring and very thin, stretchy velvety skin - which I do have.

I have Raynauds, Lichens Sclerosis, Epilepsy, Asthma, Chronis Pain Disorder and Polyarthritis. I get lots of bruises for no reason, but I do have a brilliant Rheumatologist and I'm going to ask her about this next week. My gp thinks I'm neurotic and just says 'not much we can do about that.'

Julesboz in reply to Popsoot1

Good luck getting an answer! If it’s is achenbachs then your rheumatologist will be able to confirm it. It’s a painful condition but fortunately harmless.

I'm so glad I stumbled on your post. I was googling 'spontaneous bleeding' when it came up.

I also have Reynauld's to a lesser extent and I find it interesting that so many posting here also have the condition. I googled Achenbach’s from one of the comments here and this seems to be what I have.


I was doing a search on finger bruising when I came across your post. I’m having the same exact symptoms and it stated about 8 months ago. Wasn’t sure if I should go to the doctor, seemed so strange.

I’m so relieved to have come across this post. I have Hughes syndrome, as well as Raynauds and hypothyroid. A few months ago the searing pain, swelling and then bruise appears in my big toe joint. Today it happened in my pointer finger joint. So strange...you can literally sit there and watch the joint swell and turn beet red...followed by the bruise. The symptoms sound exactly like Achenbachs syndrome. So that makes me feel better. I’ve had such issues for the past six months with digestion, itch skin and thinning hair. My dr isn’t any help so it’s hard. My mom passed away from Scleroderma. Horrible disease.


jules i too have raynoids disease, and recently my 3 fingers on left hand has just bruised as well from thumb to middle finger.... I've been reading up , but i'm not one of these "oh that's what I got or that's what you have"since i'm no doctor and i just seen it on internet.... however I am going to cardiovascular doctor Monday morning(2 days) to get scanned from legs up(since last July 4th my left foot turned purple due to no blood flow) had to get stint put in leg(clogged up within 2 months)... so if I find anything out I could reach out to you since it sounds like your symptoms are identical to mine

I’m a 72 year old male in good general health. I’ve had repeated instances of this spontaneous injury on my index and middle fingers over the past few years and wondered if it was just me or what it might portend. So pleased to see I’m not the only one! I do have Reynauds but it never occured to me it might be related. After reading everyone’s responses I did an image search on Achenbach’s Syndrome and I’m convinced that’s what I have too. It’s a relief to know its benign. I also get spontaneous bruising on my arms. Kind of similar but no pain just bruising. This condition too has a name, it’s also a bit of a medical mystery and also appears to be benign. I thought they might be related but its looking now like just coincidence.

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