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Toe Hair Tourniquet

The hair loss that many women have after giving birth is common and known as “telogen effluvium”.  It can be more than a nuisance--occasionally, those shed hairs can get wrapped around baby's toes, creating a "tourniquet" that cuts off the circulation.  The condition is not very common, and the exact incidence is not known. The condition, referred to as toe tourniquet syndrome, occurs when a loose hair or thread becomes so tightly wrapped around a baby's toes that pain, swelling and discoloration occur. A finger or penis (Ouch!) can also get wrapped up, but the toes are most often the victim. It can occur from 1 to 15 months of age but usually occurs at an age when their mothers' post-delivery hair loss is at its peak--around four months old.   The only symptom is fussiness and one of the toes are swollen, purple and tender to the touch. Look for a fine line indention and blue or red toe past it.

Treatment is to soak the toe in “Nair” or other hair disolving solution.  Sometimes the surgeon has to cut down in the skin to release the tourniquet.

So watch the hairs and toes.  J

Dr. Knapp