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May 1961

Familial Clubbed Fingers

Author Affiliations


From the Departments of Dermatology, Anatomy and Radiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.

Arch Dermatol. 1961;83(5):828-836. doi:10.1001/archderm.1961.01580110116017

Clubbed fingers have been known since the fifth century B.C., when Hippocrates1 described this sign in patients suffering from empyema. Hippocratic fingers were originally regarded as being secondary to certain intrathoracic disorders, but in the 20th century a hereditary type of clubbed fingers was recognized. Our observations on a family indicate that the disorder can exist without accompanying visceral disease and may occur in various degrees of severity.

The Affected Family Members  The proband* is a 41-year-old Negro who is 5' 1" tall. He was born on St. Kitt's, British West Indies, and has had deformed nails since he can remember. They have not changed over the years.The nails of all fingers (Fig. 1) and both big toes are large and convexly curved in the longitudinal and transverse axes. The thumb nails measure 3.3 cm. at their greatest width and 2.3 cm. at their greatest length. The

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