Joint and muscle symptoms

If scleroderma has affected your joints and muscle, you can find ways to ease your symptoms. Here you can find simple exercises to help. 

1 min read

Person holding their wrist

Because scleroderma affects everyone differently, some people might find these exercises easy, whereas others might find them more challenging. But don’t worry, go at your own pace.

Try completing the following exercises on both sides of your body.1

The starfish

  • Make a tight fist with your hand.
  • Stretch all your fingers out, so that your hand looks like a star.
  • Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 3 times.

The thumb slide

  • Touch the tip of your little finger to your thumb tip (on the same hand).
  • Slide your thumb tip down the length of your little finger.
  • Repeat for your other fingers, starting with your ring finger.

Quadriceps stretch2

  • Stand on your left leg. Hold onto a stable object if you need help balancing.
  • Raise your right leg behind you and grab your ankle.
  • Gently pull your foot towards your bottom until you feel a firm, but not painful, stretch at the front of your thigh.
  • If you cannot reach your ankle, put a chair behind you. Put your right leg on the chair, with the knee bent as far as possible, and then lean back onto the chair to feel the stretch.

Neck rotation2

  • Whilst sitting with a straight back, turn your head to one side and look over your shoulder. Keep your head straight—don't look up or down.
  • This should allow you to feel a comfortable stretch on the opposite side of the neck.

Exercises should focus on your entire body. Gentle cardiovascular exercise such as walking, swimming or strength exercises, such as yoga can help.2

Contact your doctor

Tell your doctor about any problems, so they can work out the cause and help.