Hair Tourniquet Syndrome

Hair tourniquet is a medical condition wherein a hair or other thread becomes tied around a toe or finger so tightly that the digits experience strangulation. Eventually the digits may suffer so much damage that they face amputation.
First called Toe Tourniquet Syndrome in 1971, it is now better known as Hair Tourniquet Syndrome because it can also affect fingers.

The problem usually arises in babies and small children when hairs or threads are lost loosely inside socks. They can become spontaneously tied round a toe and will tend to tighten with wriggling. Natural hair is much more likely to undergo this phenomenon than spun thread. Incidents such as this can also occur during sleep.

The condition is common enough, though relatively under reported[1].

[1] Lohana et al: Toe-Tourniquet Syndrome: A Diagnostic Dilemma! in Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England – 2006

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