Dactylitis: Sausage Fingers
The name of the disease comes from the fact that it affects only your hands. There are many different types of dactylitis. Some people have a single affected hand, while others have multiple affected fingers. Others still suffer from dactylicoliosis (disease caused by eating sesame seeds).
Symptoms of Dactylitis: ‘Sausage Fingers’
There are several symptoms associated with dactylitis. These include:
Tenderness in the area where the infection occurs. The skin around the infected area may become red or blistered. Other symptoms include pain, burning sensation, itching and tingling sensations.
Infection may spread to other parts of the body. For example, if there is a sore on the back, then the same infection could affect the legs or even cause internal bleeding. If the infection spreads to other areas of your body, then you will experience fever and chills. You might also feel tired all over and lose energy.
Sometimes people develop joint pains such as pain in their knees or ankles. You may also have jaundice, which means your skin will turn yellow.
Diagnosing Dactylitis: Sausage Fingers
The doctor will ask questions about your medical history and do a physical examination. This will help to determine the extent of your symptoms and the exact cause of the dactylitis. Your doctor may order tests such as blood work, urine tests, skin scrapings or tissue biopsies to diagnose the cause of dactylitis. Your doctor may take a culture, which involves growing bacteria from a sample of your infection to identify the exact type of bacteria causing it.
Treating Dactylitis: Sausage Fingers
Most cases of dactylitis can be treated at home with rest, pain medication and elevation. If the infection is less serious, then it will heal on its own within one or two weeks. In more serious cases, you will need to take antibiotics. Your doctor may also write a prescription for an antiseptic or a topical cream to clean and soothe the affected area.
In rare cases, surgery may be needed to drain pus from an infected wound.
Preventing Dactylitis: Sausage Fingers
To prevent dactylitis, it’s important to clean any cuts or scrapes immediately. Be sure to wash your hands after you touch animals or their poop. Animal feces can contain dangerous bacteria that causes infection. Be sure to wash any vegetables or fruit before you eat them, as they may have come into contact with animal waste.
If you have a sore on your hand or finger, do not touch your face or rub your eyes. This is very important because it can spread the infection to other parts of your body.
Living with Dactylitis: Sausage Fingers
Most people recover completely from dactylitis. However, it can lead to a condition known as dactylolysis palmoplantar pustulosis or BPOP, which is a type of arthritis that causes recurring sores in the palms of hands and soles of feet. Even after the infection has been treated, complications such as scars and deformities may remain. You may need to take pain medication, such as ibuprofen for the pain caused by these conditions.
It is very important that you keep your hands clean to prevent infection. You should also wear properly fitting gloves when working with equipment or handling chemicals to prevent irritation and further injury to the hands.
Sources & references used in this article:
Dactylitis in patients with seronegative spondylarthropathy. Assessment by ultrasonography and magnetic resonance imaging by I Olivieri, L Barozzi, L Favaro, A Pierro… – … : Official Journal of …, 1996 – Wiley Online Library
Dactylitis, a term for different digit diseases by I Olivieri, E Scarano, A Padula, V Giasi… – Scandinavian journal of …, 2006 – Taylor & Francis
Extrasynovial ultrasound abnormalities in the psoriatic finger. Prospective comparative power-doppler study versus rheumatoid arthritis by B Fournié, N Margarit-Coll, TLC de Ribes… – Joint Bone Spine, 2006 – Elsevier
Seronegative spondylarthropathies: imaging of spondylitis, enthesitis and dactylitis by L Barozzi, I Olivieri, M De Matteis, A Padula… – European journal of …, 1998 – Elsevier
Fast spin echo–T2‐weighted sequences with fat saturation in dactylitis of spondylarthritis: No evidence of entheseal involvement of the flexor digitorum tendons by I Olivieri, C Salvarani, F Cantini… – … : Official Journal of …, 2002 – Wiley Online Library