Dactylitis (hand-foot syndrome) and sickle cell disease

Dactylitis is severe pain that affects the bones of the hands, the feet, or both. It's often the first symptom of sickle cell disease in babies. About half of infants born with sickle cell disease have at least one episode of dactylitis by the age of 2 years. Dactylitis rarely occurs after age 4.1

Dactylitis is caused by blocked blood circulation. Symptoms include extreme pain and tenderness, usually with swelling. An episode may last 1 to 2 weeks.

Citations

  1. Beutler E (2006). Disorders of hemoglobin structure: Sickle cell anemia and related abnormalities. In MA Lichtman et al., eds., Williams Hematology, 7th ed., pp. 667–700. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Last Updated: December 9, 2008

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Martin Steinberg, MD - Hematology

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