Babies’ tiny toes and fingers are perfect for counting and kissing — but they are also susceptible to damage from a single strand of hair.
A stray strand of hair, wrapped around a baby’s toe or finger, can actually cause major damage by cutting off circulation. Doctors describe when a toe turns purple or red in reaction to being strangled by a piece of hair as “toe tourniquet syndrome,” reports MSNBC.com.
The problem does not always involve toes; a 1988 Pediatrics study reviewed 60 “hair-thread tourniquet syndrome” cases and found 24 incidents involved toes, 14 involved fingers, and 22 incidents reported hair wrapped around babies’ genitals.
Unfortunately, some children end up having to lose their affected appendage because of late detection. Massachusetts surgeon Dr. Timothy Lepore shared with The New York Times health writer Pam Belluck: “I didn’t know anything about toe tourniquet syndrome when I had my two kids. It’s not in any pregnancy books or first-year books. You’d think the hair would break, but it’s apparently very strong and can get 100 revolutions around a tiny toe if you have long hair.”
While these cases are rare, Lepore urges parents to be aware of the potential threat and to speak up if a doctor does not recognize hair-thread tourniquet syndrome as a possible cause of an appendage losing circulation.
Have you ever heard of toe tourniquet syndrome?