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November 1939


Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Division of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Chicago Clinics.

Arch Surg. 1939;39(5):741-760. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1939.01200170052005

The syndrome now designated as arachnodactyly was first described by Marfan1 in 1896. His patient, a girl 5½ years of age, had increased length and slenderness of the hands and feet, decrease in soft tissue, finger contractures, ligamentous relaxation and other associated congenital abnormalities. Because of the long, thin spider-like feet he called the condition "pieds d'araignée." The term arachnodactyly ("spider digits") was first used by Achard2 in 1902.

Young3 reviewed 22 cases of arachnodactyly reported between 1896 and 1929 and added 4 cases. Weve4 in 1932 described 23 cases in six families, bringing the total number of cases reported at that time to 84. He emphasized the familial and hereditary characteristics of the condition. Since Weve's report 48 cases have been added to the literature. Reports of only 37 cases have appeared in the American literature since Piper and Irvine-Jones5 described their case in