Doctors have released shocking pictures of a 48-year-old man's hands covered in agonising ulcers.
The unidentified patient sought medical help because the lesions on his hands had become increasingly painful.
They first appeared six months ago, alongside him suffering a shortness of breath when carrying out tasks.
By the time he was seen by dermatologists in Boston, the ulcers had sprung up in other areas, including his mouth and eyes.
Quick-thinking doctors ran tests which revealed a rare condition was causing both his rapidly progressing skin rash and breathlessness.
Dermatomyositis is a muscle wasting disorder which can be fatal if it affects the lungs or heart. Doctors are currently unsure what causes it.
The man was put onto strong medication straight away, and his ulcers disappeared and he returned to full health within a few months.
Doctors have released shocking pictures of a man's hands covered in agonising ulcers (pictured) caused by a rare condition which was damaging his lungs
Dr Alexandra Charrow and Dr Ruth Ann Vleugels reported the case study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The pair of dermatologists treated man while working at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston.
Not only did he have ulcers on his hands, but also on his fingertips, elbows, as well as his mouth.
He also had violet swelling of the skin around the eyes, which had 'erupted', the doctors wrote.
Dermatomyositis is a group of acquired muscle diseases.
Dermatomyositis may occur at any age, but is most common in adults in their late 40s to early 60s, or children between 5 and 15 years of age.
The signs and symptoms of dermatomyositis may appear suddenly or develop gradually, over weeks or months.
These include:Muscle weakness Aching or painful muscles Extreme tiredness Generally feeling unwell Other more generalised symptoms, including joint pain and occasionally swelling, and shortness of breath A distinctive rash
Before the muscle symptoms occur, a red or purple-coloured rash often appears on the face (eyelids, nose and cheeks), back, upper chest, elbows, knees and knuckles.
The rash can be itchy or painful, and you may also get hard lumps of tissue under the skin called calcinosis.
Adults may experience weight loss, fever, have inflamed lungs, and be sensitive to light.
The cause of dermatomyositis is