Novel Clues How Fibromyalgia Works

15OBWATER-superJumboHave you ever gotten out of the pool or bath and noticed wrinkling on your hands and feet? The wrinkling is thought to be part of an evolutionary development to allow for the gripping of objects under water. Sensors in your extremities detect the water and signal the hands and feet to wrinkle. In people with nerve damage, this wrinkling does not occur. Studies have shown that this wrinkling may be reduced or absent in people suffering from small fiber neuropathies as well. Reduced wrinkling may also indicate autonomic dysfunction, which is implicated in fibromyalgia as well.

Recent research suggests that small fiber neuropathies may be an underlying cause of fibromyalgia.  Current diagnostic techniques include taking a small biopsy of the skin to look for microscopic underlying abnormalities.  Although the relationship between hand wrinkling in water and fibromyalgia pain has not yet been studied, it could potentially give more information about the underlying mechanism of fibromyalgia.

At the University of Florida Pain and Fatigue Research Center, we are working on mechanisms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. For more information, please give us a call at 352-265-8901, or email us at