What is the hand-foot syndrome in sickle cell disease (SCD)?

Updated: May 12, 2021
  • Author: Joseph E Maakaron, MD; Chief Editor: Emmanuel C Besa, MD  more...
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Answer

Infants with SCD may develop hand-foot syndrome, a dactylitis presenting as exquisite pain and soft tissue swelling of the dorsum of the hands and feet. The syndrome develops suddenly and lasts 1-2 weeks. Hand-foot syndrome occurs between age 6 months and 3 years; it is not seen after age 5 years because hematopoiesis in the small bones of the hands and feet ceases at this age. Osteomyelitis is the major differential diagnosis.


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