Pyoderma gangrenosum is a rare medical condition that causes the development of painful sores, which most often appear on the legs. Though the exact cause is unknown, the disorder seems to be linked to the immune system. Some underlying conditions can increase a person's risk of developing pyoderma gangrenosum. The ulcers usually clear up when they're treated, but they can leave behind scars, and it's also common for the ulcers to recur. The condition can occur at any age, though it more commonly affects individuals between twenty and fifty years old. Patients with pyoderma gangrenosum should try to avoid causing injury to their skin, as skin trauma can provoke the development of new ulcers.
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More than fifty percent of patients with pyoderma gangrenosum have a systemic disease like rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic disorder that causes joint inflammation. Other systems in the body can become damaged as well, including the blood vessels, heart, lungs, eyes, and skin. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that starts when the immune system attacks tissues in the body. While osteoarthritis is caused by worn-down damage to the joints, rheumatoid arthritis causes the lining of the joints to become inflamed, leading to swelling that can, over time, cause deformity of the joint and erosion of bone. Symptoms include swollen joints, tender joints, joint stiffness that's worse after inactivity or in the mornings, fatigue, and fever.
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