Sickle Cell Disease: Dactylitis (Hand-Foot Syndrome)

Skip to the navigation

Topic Overview

Dactylitis is severe pain that affects the bones of the hands, the feet, or both. It's often the first symptom of sickle cell disease in babies.

Dactylitis is caused by blocked blood circulation. Symptoms include extreme pain and tenderness, usually with swelling. An episode may last 1 to 4 weeks.

Your child's doctor will likely suggest pain relievers and ask you to make sure your child is getting plenty of fluids. Although it is painful, dactylitis does not damage your child's body.

Related Information


Other Works Consulted

  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health (2002). The Management of Sickle Cell Disease (NIH Publication No. 02-2117). Available online:


ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerMartin Steinberg, MD - Hematology

Current as ofFebruary 20, 2015

Current as of: February 20, 2015