Dear all I have an abscess on my elbo... - Scleroderma & Ray...

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Dear all I have an abscess on my elbow which is not healing after many courses of antibiotics. The hospital say they cannot operate.

kimbalina profile image

Dear all I have an abscess on my elbow which is not healing after many courses of antibiotics. The hospital say they cannot operate to remove the poison as it is near bone and tendons. They are also concerned that it may cause further infection due to my scleroderma.

Has anyone had this problem and any help with how this is expected to resolve without intervention?

28 Replies

Hi Kim 😊🌿🌸🦋Try cleaning the wound with wam soapy water using sterile medical gloves pat wound dry with sterile gauze

Then use medical grade manuka honey from chemist applying with sterile tongue depressors. Apply sterile absorbent gauze.

Repeat 3~4 times daily.

I have used this treatment on myself many times to heal very deep flesh wounds.

It is used on humans and animals with great results.

Because it is a natural compound of honey it’s isn’t likely to cause complications unless honey allergic.

The manuka honey is expensive because it’s only source is from Australia.

Given that your doctors won’t do anything this is worth a try.

I also drink lightly salted chicken broth with butter black pepper sage marjoram and thyme. The broth promotes healing hydration and strength.

I just said a special prayer for you.

Take care and best wishes for healing

Abundant blessings my friend.

EJ 😊🤗♥️🥰🙏🕊🌿🌸🦋❤️‍🩹🤝

kimbalina profile image
kimbalina in reply to honeybug

Thank you so much for your reply and kind words. I have been using the medical grade manuka honey given to me by the hospital. The problem is the poison is not coming out. Hoping the honey works as you suggest. Thank you.

honeybug profile image
honeybug in reply to kimbalina

I’m glad to hear you’ve been using the honey. I’m clueless as to why you aren’t being treated for the poison/infection. Have you tried Chinese medicine for this or Holistic treatments???

I pray that you will find something that removes the poison.

I treated my 91 year old blind dad with manuka honey on a badly infected large deep flesh wound and it healed up great.

I’m sorry you’re suffering so much from this.

You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

EJ 🤝❤️‍🩹🤗🙏🕊

kimbalina profile image
kimbalina in reply to honeybug

Ah bless you honey bug. I am the No1 fan of Chinese medicine!! My local Chinese Dr has been amazing in the past for my scleroderma related problems. They have remedies which out do anything prescribed by the NHS. I am going to the hospital so often at the moment so I do not want to muddy the water, so to speak. One more appointment with orthopaedics on Wednesday so I will see what the outcome is. If they are still saying “just wait and see” I will hot foot it to my Chinese Dr!

Thank you again honeybug x

honeybug profile image
honeybug in reply to kimbalina

Most welcome sweetie. Best wishes. Xx

kimbalina profile image
kimbalina in reply to honeybug

Dear honeybug. I have posted a photo of my arm. Do you think these patches could be calcinosis rather than poison?

Yes I think they are more than likely calcinosis by the look of them. I’ve had a couple and they are very painful until they work themselves out.

Thank you Midgebite21

So they do tend to work their way out?

Any tips for helping that process along? I am currently using medical grade manuka honey.

Kind regards,



Very interesting, thank you so much. I have been using Epsom salts but the dressings nurse quite rightly told me to stick to the honey (pardon the pun) for now so we can track what actually works.

Hi/ the worrying part of your letter is the fact that you have had many anti biotics which have not helped with abscess and worryingly could be causing problems for future.I feel you are being abandoned and left with a problem which can only get worse if left without treatment. Is it worth investing in having a private consultation? I have always used NHS but when I first developed scleroderma my GP suggested I had scabies and obviously didn’t gave a clue so I went to dermatologist who said I haven’t a clue but not it’s scabies BUT was I aware I had Crest? Off I went to see a rheumatologist and the rest is history. I believe now that my husbands death and the trauma leading up to just caused my body to react. Recently I developed problems with ulcers which were not initially diagnosed correctly or treated so I needed a quick answer as I was in unbearable pain…….good job I went private as I had a large blood clot causing blockage of veins in leg. I am not suggesting you necessarily have actual treatment but just a one to one second opinion. Otherwise go back to your GP and insist on dressings by nurse to keep infection under control. When I was a child before antibiotics were prolific we would be relying on old fashioned poultice for drawing wounds like this. There has to be an answer to your problem……..keep fighting for it . CC

Hi creditcrunchie. Thank you for your reply. Yes this is my concern that the hospital feel waiting for nature to take it’s course is not satisfactory. I do work full time for emergency services and although they are very supportive and understanding I do need to get back to work. I can’t bend my arm properly so 12 hour shifts is not ideal.

I am receiving very good care at the hospital. I see the dressings nurse very often and monitored by Drs but it is all taking too long.

I too believe stress and trauma trigger this disease and ulcer/infection outbreaks. I suffered so badly when my brother passed away very suddenly.

I will try my Chinese Dr, as suggested by honeybug, if no joy at the hospital on Wednesday.

Thank you so much for your reply and help. Kimbalina x

Hi creditcrunchie. Do you think I could have calcinosis in my arm rather than poison? I have posted a photo.

Hello again / has your rheumatologist seen it? It’s not an impossibility and worth pursuing. It does look nasty. My experience of calcinosis has been limited to a finger which gets a lump then erupts into a soft cream.And I was told when having a stent put in hat they had to prop it with another stent due a big lump of calcium but I didn’t pursue it so not sure if it’s normal ie my age or related to my scleroderma. I am sure some people on this forum with experience will help answer this. But you definitely need your rheumatologist s opinion. CC

Hi creditcrunchie thank you again for your reply and kind words re my brother. I do not consider myself a person who “suffers from stress” but there are some things in life that are sadly unavoidable. This bloody awful disease is a law unto itself isn’t it? My rheumatologist is at a different hospital but I am going to suggest a consult between the two Drs. Orthopaedics/ rheumatologists. Many thanks xx

I'm pretty sure calcinosis shows up on an xray. Ask for an xray, I had one for something else and it mentioned a calcinosis on two finger joints.

Thank you Sophiebun11

I have been under the care of my local A & E who X-rayed my arm twice. They did not mention calcinosis but they were reviewed by Orthopaedics rather than Rheumatologist. I am now in touch with my Rheumatology hospital so they may request copies of the X-rays. Thank you so much for your reply.

Hi. I have just re read your post and wanted to offer my sympathy on the loss of your brother which must have been very hard as it always is when is someone near and dear. Regards CC

Hi Kimbalina, it looks very much like infected calcinosis. I enclose a photo of my elbow - I do in fact have impacted calcinosis on both elbows. I was supposed to have them operated on before lock down but having talked to people who have had it done, they say they were worse after it and couldn’t bend their elbows so I think I will have to live with the elbows as they are. I use manuka honey when they are really bad but at other times I rub CBD oil into them two or three times a day. Im sorry you having such a horrid time and sending love and healing thoughts x❤️🙏🏻❤️

Elbow full of calcinosis
kimbalina profile image
kimbalina in reply to Monika

Oh Monika my sympathy this looks very painful? I am more convinced now that this is exactly what I have but not as bad. Thank you so much for your reply and photo. Kimbalina xx

Hi Kim l have one on both elbows. They can't operate on mine and I've had the first one for 3 years. They have tried all sorts of creams and dressings but it won't resolve. They discharged me in the end saying there was nothing more they could do. Hope you have better luck. I've also got Scleroderma x

Dear RowlandDoris

Oh dear that is not very helpful for you! I have just spoken to the clinical nurse (rheumatology) at Guys London. I have sent a photo and await a call back.

Thank you for your reply and if they come up with anything helpful I will let you know. Just in case it is something you haven’t tried.

All the very best kimbalina

Thankyou I hope they can come up with something for you xx

For people with Scleroderma calcinosis of the elbow is quite a common site. And looking at your photo it does look like your infection is due to this.

Sounds like you are seeing all the right specialists and had all the X-rays, antibiotics, dressings etc., to investigate the problem. I think the issue they (the specialists) have is that if they try to operate to either remove any stones (calcinosis) or any infection and dead tissue, this can further spread the infection and also makes the wound larger causing more issues. So they are probably hoping with the help of antibiotics and dressings that your body will eventually heal itself. Hence the reluctance to operate.

The problem with that is if the infection and the cause of infection (ie: the calcinosis and infected tissue) is there for too long osteomyelitis (bone infection) can set in which is not a good thing.

Any osteomyelitis or osteonecrosis (loss of bone) would have to be addressed first before any surgery can be attempted. So you are in a “catch 22” situation (open up the elbow and remove the cause and possibly introduce more problems or wait and see if the problem heals itself with a risk of osteomyelitis. They probably have this dilemma).

Have they taken a swab of the infection to determine which is the best antibiotic you should be taking to control it. Sometimes the antibiotic needed to treat the source of infection needs to be a mixture of antibiotics (and could be one that is quite potent, so be aware it can cause gastric problems while on it. Having an IV antibiotic is another option to avoid the gastric issues but then you will need to stay in hospital for the course 🤕).

Either way, it will be a long road to recovery. I have a lot of calcinosis throughout my body (including my elbow, which comes and goes), so do understand and been through similar.

kimbalina profile image
kimbalina in reply to Gmargs

Dear GmargsThank you so much for your informed reply. I don’t believe it is infected any longer but it is sore. The local hospital did take a swab but I never got the results. Perhaps because the infection seemed to have been dealt with there was no follow up on that. I am hoping to receive an update from Guys (my rheumatology hospital) this morning as to how they propose to go forward.

I gave a feeling they are just going to leave things as they are. Rather than intervene surgically. I’ve also read that acupuncture can help this problem and magnesium. If all else fails I have a very good Chinese herbal Dr I may ask her if she can help. Again thank you so much I appreciate your helpful reply.

Gmargs profile image
Gmargs in reply to kimbalina

Good to hear the doctors don’t think it’s infected. The soreness then could just be from the calcinosis irritation. The elbow is such a bad place to have this, as we are always moving it.

Photos can be deceiving, it looked red and I wasn’t sure if the white areas were calcinosis and or pus. It’s great you have a good relationship with your Chinese herbalist, it gives you more options to try and their knowledge is vast.

Hope everything settles down soon

kimbalina profile image
kimbalina in reply to Gmargs

Yes you are right the elbow is awkward and now that the weather is colder having to wear long sleeves and coats does not help. The local hospital did think there was pus but my suspicion that it was calcinosis was increased when an Orthopaedic surgeon tried to remove it with a large gauge needle failed. He said it was too thick to be drawn off. That’s when I posted the photo on here for opinions. I’m still waiting to hear from my rheumatologist but if that fails I will ask my Chinese Dr about acupuncture. Thanks for your reply and if anything helps me I will update for everyone’s benefit on here. Take care and all the best. Kim

Gmargs profile image
Gmargs in reply to kimbalina

Yes calcinosis can start off as a liquid and sometimes if left or not dissolved by the body it can become hard and not able to be removed by aspiration. Problem then is the calcium deposits can cause more irritation and may lead to infection and pus.

Yes it would be helpful to know what happens further down the track. A lot of times we read about people’s issues at the time they’re wanting answers but rarely read about their outcome (be it good or bad or just ongoing).

Thank Marie