[Skip to Navigation]
July 8, 1905


Author Affiliations

Lecturer on Dermatology and Syphilology in the Medical College of Indiana; Alternate Genito-Urinary Surgeon to the Indianapolis City Hospital. INDIANAPOLIS.

JAMA. 1905;XLV(2):87-89. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.52510020007002

Ainhum, from the Nagos native name, meaning "to saw," may be defined as a pathologic process, the ultimate result of which is a spontaneous amputation of one or more fingers or toes, usually the little toe. This occurs through a slow but gradual circular strangulation. The disease when unchecked inevitably leads to loss of one or more fingers or toes. Generally only the little toes are affected, but cases occur in which other toes are attacked and amputated.

HISTORY OF THE DISEASE.  The affection was first described by Clark,1 and later by Da Silva Lima2 of Bahia in 1866, who gave to the medical world the first complete reports of this strange malady. It was at first supposed to be confined exclusively to Brazilian territory. Since then, however, it has been reported from nearly every quarter of the globe. It has been met with most frequently on the