By Gary M. White, MD
Ainhum is a constricting band around a digit, usually the fifth toe, that may lead to autoamputation.
- The term 'AINHUM' is derived from the African word meaning "to saw or cut."
- Pseudoainhum mimics ainhum but is secondary to other conditions, e.g., a keratoderma or a constricting hair.
- The cause is not entirely known. Walking barefoot is common, but some patients have always worn shoes.
- Familial cases have been reported suggesting a genetic predisposition.
- Deficient vascular supply has been documented in some cases.
A constricting band usually around the fifth toe in an elderly East African who walks barefoot is characteristic. It is usually bilateral, and spontaneous amputation may occur.
Trauma should be avoided. Amputation for a dangling digit may be necessary. Surgical Z-plasty may be performed.
Med J DY Patil Univ 2013;6:217-8
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