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Disease Profile

Eosinophilic fasciitis

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset






Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Shulman syndrome; EF


Connective tissue diseases; Nervous System Diseases


Eosinophilic fasciitis is a very rare condition in which muscle tissue underneath the skin, called fascia, becomes swollen and thick. Rapid swelling can occur in the hands, arms, legs, and feet. People with this condition have a buildup of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell, in the affected fascia and muscles. The exact cause of this condition is unknown. Corticosteroids and other immune-suppressing medications are used to relieve the symptoms. Eosinophilic fasciitis is similar in appearance to scleroderma.[1] However, in contrast with systemic sclerosis, internal organ involvement in eosinophilic fasciitis is generally absent. Some researchers believe that eosinophilic fasciitis may be a variant of morphea (localized scleroderma).[2]


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
80%-99% of people have these symptoms
Persistent blue color of hands, feet, or parts of face
Bacterial infection of skin
Skin infection

[ more ]

High blood eosinophil count

[ more ]

Flat, discolored area of skin
Muscular edema
Muscle ache
Muscle pain

[ more ]

Subcutaneous nodule
Firm lump under the skin
Growth of abnormal tissue under the skin

[ more ]

30%-79% of people have these symptoms
Joint pain
Joint inflammation
5%-29% of people have these symptoms
Inflammation of the fascia
Muscle inflammation
Pins and needles feeling

[ more ]

Weight loss
Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Autosomal recessive inheritance
Eosinophilic fasciitis


About 10-20% of people with eosinophilic fasciitis recover spontaneously without treatment. For those who do not, glucocorticoids (0.5–1 mg/kg/d), such as prednisone, are the mainstay therapy. Even with treatment, improvement in symptoms can take weeks or months. Glucocorticoids are successful in treating eosionophilic fasciitis in over 70% of cases.[3] If glucocorticoids are unsuccessful, methotrexate at low doses (15–25 mg once weekly) is probably the most favored second-line treatment, especially in people with reddish to purpleish (morphea-like) skin lesions.[4] Other treatment options include NSAIDs, D-penicillamine, chloroquine, cimetidine, azathioprine, cyclosporin A, infliximab, UVA-1, and bath PUVA.[3] Physical therapy may help improve joint mobility and decrease contractures. Surgical release has been used in some severe cases to manage significant joint contractures.[5]


Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Organizations Supporting this Disease

    Organizations Providing General Support

      Learn more

      These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

      Where to Start

      • DermNet NZ is an online resource about skin diseases developed by the New Zealand Dermatological Society Incorporated. DermNet NZ provides information about this condition.
      • MedlinePlus was designed by the National Library of Medicine to help you research your health questions, and it provides more information about this topic.
      • The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library provides information on this condition for patients and caregivers.
      • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.

        In-Depth Information

        • Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
        • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
        • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
        • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
        • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Eosinophilic fasciitis. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

          Selected Full-Text Journal Articles


            1. Werth VP. Eosinophilic fasciitis. January 2015; https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000447.htm. Accessed 11/12/2015.
            2. Mertens JS, Seyger MMB, Thurlings RM, Radstake TRDJ, de Jong EMGJ. Morphea and Eosinophilic Fasciitis: An Update. Am J Clin Derma. 2017; 18(4):491–512. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5506513/.
            3. Danis R et al.,. Unusual presentation of eosinophilic fasciitis: two case reports and a review of the literature. J Med Case Reports. 2010; 4:46. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2830980. Accessed 6/11/2015.
            4. Pinal-Fernandez I, Selva-O' Callaghan A, Grau JM. Diagnosis and classification of eosinophilic fasciitis. Autoimmun Rev. 2014 Apr-May; 13(4-5):379-82. Accessed 6/11/2015.
            5. Henning PM. Eosinophilic Fasciitis. Medscape Reference. March 2015; https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/329515-overview. Accessed 11/12/2015.

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