MadSci Network: General Biology

Re: Is there a cure/ treatment for clubbed fingers.

Date: Wed Feb 14 16:50:59 2001
Posted By: Robert Schier, M.D., Radiology, Pacific Imaging Consultants
Area of science: General Biology
ID: 981666940.Gb

Hello Shaun.

You asked whether there are cures or treatments for clubbed fingers. 
Before getting into that, I would like to first look at what clubbing is 
and what can cause clubbing. You may already know these, so please bear 
with me.

What is clubbing? The word "clubbing" describes the appearance of 
enlargement and rounding of the tips of the fingers and toes. Medical 
texts often use the term "broadening," "thickening," "splaying," 
and "rounding of the nails" to describe the condition. It is 
called "clubbing" because the fingers and toes can sometimes look a bit 
like clubs -- with narrow handles (fingers) and wider heads (finger tips).

Clubbing is a symptom, not a disease. That is, it is the physical 
manifestation of of an underlying problem in the same way that a runny 
nose is often a symptom of an underlying cold.

Since clubbing is just a symptom, it is important that anyone who has it 
(you, your family, your friends)get medical attention if they haven't done 
so already. 

What diseases is clubbing associated with? There are many. Some of them 
     Congenital Heart Disease -- many kinds
     Lung Disease
          Cystic Fibrosis, Cancer, Emphysema, Bronchiectasis
     Liver Disease
          Hepatitis, Cirrhosis
     Intestinal Diseases
          Celiac disease, Crohn's disease
     Lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease

Can clubbing be treated? Yes, often it can be cured -- or at least 
improved a great deal. This is done by treating the underlying problem 
causing the clubbing in the first place.

What is the biological process that causes enlargement of the tips of the 
fingers and toes? No one knows for sure. Two theories are: 

1.) Low blood oxygen causes overgrowth of the soft tissues in those areas.
2.) Abnromal platelet function or abnromal platelet trapping causes 
release of a growth factor which causes the symptom.

Again, anyone with clubbing should see a doctor.

For more information about clubbing and other medical problems, consider:

Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine
Greenfield's Radiology of Bone Diseases
Mayo Clinic website:
WebMC website:
Children's Hospital of Iowa:
Dr.Koop website:


Current Queue | Current Queue for General Biology | General Biology archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on General Biology.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2001. All rights reserved.