Ainhum is a disease seen primarily in the Negro race and is characterized by progressive constriction of the base of one or more toes. The disease is more prevalent in tropic and semitropic areas,8,10 the majority of patients having been reported from Africa and Central and South America.5,8 Since Clarke's2 original report in 1860, it has remained a medical curiosity, particularly in the United States. Only 71 patients have been reported in this country since Hornaday's17 first published case in 1881. Forty-two of these were summarized by Spinzig10 in 1939, ten by Vaughn, Howser, and Shropshear14 in 1945, and ten by Hucherson5 in 1950.
Because of the infrequency of the disease in this country, the three patients with ainhum who have been seen at The Johns Hopkins Hospital between 1931 and 1958 are deemed of sufficient interest to report.
Report of Cases
RILEY LH, CANTRELL JR. Clinical and Pathological Observations in Three Cases of Ainhum. AMA Arch Surg. 1959;79(6):1013-1017. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1959.04320120155020