Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Morphea is a type of localized scleroderma that causes the thickening and hardening of the skin. The lesions are usually confined to the skin. Usually, it is only one lesion is found in the body that tends to clear up by itself in three to five years. It is more commonly seen in women than men that have started in their childhood. It is diagnosed mostly in the age between 20-50 years. In severe cases, it may affect structures other than skin such as bones, joints, and muscles that may lead to disability and deformity.

Is Morphea A Disability?

In severe form, morphea disease may take a generalized approach and may involve various structures underneath the skin such as bones, muscles, and others. The skin represents multiple lesions widespread in the body. These lesions become so large that their borders are indistinguishable. However, they are not associated with systemic scleroderma.

The thickening of the skin becomes so severe that it causes joint contractures, limb-length discrepancy, and facial atrophy. It also causes wasting of muscles. This is more common in children. This leads to disabilities and deformities that interfere with one's normal function. In such cases, when a person cannot perform normal functions due to restricted movement or disability, he can claim for disability. It is decided by the criteria set by the Social Security Administration. Linear scleroderma with morphea is eligible for disability claims when more than two parts of the body are affected and the disease causes difficulties in walking without support or when fingers of the hands are malformed. A disability claim is also valid for those who have permanent loss of the muscles of legs or arms leading to the problem with using legs and hands to work.

However, such complications in morphea are very rare as it does not spread and become severe in every case. Usually, it settles on its own without medical intervention in three to five years.

Morphea is a rare disease of the skin that is represented by hard, firm and thick lesions. These lesions are usually reddish oval-shaped with a light center with borders. It is a type of localized scleroderma. It is usually limited to the skin. It affects the skin of the chest, abdomen or back and sometimes involves face, neck and the limbs. It is usually a painless condition that disappears by itself in three to five years.

Morphea affects women more than men. It usually starts in early childhood. The average age in which most of the cases of morphea is diagnosed is 20-50 years. Linear morphea is its most common type that affects the children the most. It does not affect the life expectancy of a person.

The causes of Morphea are unclear. The factors that are supposed to cause morphea are autoimmunity, infections, and injury to the skin, cancer, exposure to radiation and other harmful chemicals or certain medicines. The people who belong to the African community are more likely to develop this condition. It is found that the patient who has developed this disease has a family history of autoimmune diseases. It can also be associated with three or more autoimmune diseases in the same person at the same time.

Morphea represents itself by ivory colored plaques that have inflamed borders. It starts as a reddish swollen patch that becomes white or yellow in color. The skin becomes hard, thickened and firm. This also can cause the loss of hair in this area. With the progress of this lesion, sweating also gets lost.

Conclusion

Morphea is a rare pathological condition that causes the hardening and thickening of the skin. It is usually a harmless disease that resolves on its own. In certain cases, it may cause limb discrepancy and joint contractures that may lead to malformation of fingers and shortness of limbs. In such conditions, you can claim for disability benefits.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: March 7, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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