Preventing hair tourniquet syndrome


As far as good babies go, I feel like MT and I really hit the jackpot.  Michael is just so unbelievably laid back, pleasant, and happy.



That’s why we were a little bit concerned when he got fussy and upset several times on Monday and Tuesday.  It was just really out of character.

Luckily, we had a previously scheduled appointment with Michael’s pediatrician yesterday for his two-month well visit, so I was able to ask if perhaps Michael was reacting poorly to his formula.

(He gets really gassy after eating which is why I thought the formula might be bothering him.)

Long story short, Michael is developing perfectly, gaining weight, growing, and isn’t allergic to his formula.  The doctor and I discussed some ways to alleviate the gas pains, and then he sent the nurse in to give Michael two (yes, two!) shots in his chubby little legs.



He handled the shots like a champ, but while I was holding him, I noticed that one of the toes on his right foot was swollen and red. It also had a piece of hair wrapped tightly around it.  When I removed the hair, it was clearly painful for Michael which broke my heart.

The nurse called our doctor back into the room, and he told me that this is a common issue that can turn into something more serious known as hair tourniquet syndrome.

Hair tourniquet syndrome is a clinical phenomenon that involves hair or thread becoming so tightly wrapped around an appendage that it results in pain, injury, and, sometimes, loss of the appendage. (source)

Even though the hair wasn’t wrapped around the toe for very long, I am still shocked that I didn’t notice it sooner.

I’m constantly pulling hair out of Michael’s fingers but never once saw any issues with his toes- not even while bathing him. Of course, the doctor told me not to feel badly about it since he didn’t even see it when he examined Michael.

I’m just so happy that I discovered the problem early on and that it didn’t turn into anything more extreme (unlike this case which illustrates with a pretty nasty looking photo).

The doctor told me to apply Neosporin to the toe and to call if it started to look worse.  He also said that the toe was probably the root of Michael’s uneasiness earlier in the week.

Thankfully, the toe already looks nearly 100% better after only one day of applying the ointment, and Michael is back to his normal happy self.

Even so, I’ve been keeping my hair tied back (because of some postpartum hair loss) and will probably be pretty paranoid for awhile, but that might not be such a bad thing.

If you have a baby of your own I hope that this post will serve as a reminder to check him or her thoroughly as well.

We have to protect those precious little fingers and toes!


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  1. Jenny O.

    OK, that hair thing was one of the things I was always paranoid about happened with the girls because it happened once with Katherine (pretty mild and caught it really early.) But whenever I would tell friends or new moms to be mindful of it I would get the ‘you’re so paranoid’ eye roll. So I stopped mentioning it. I’m so sorry it happened to Baby Michael. I have resolved to start telling people about it again. 🙂 (Also, he is the cutest, most photogenic baby ever. The end.)

    • Aw, thank you, Jenny! I won’t disagree with you. LOL.

      Definitely keep reminding people about this. It is absolutely a real thing!

      PS- Let’s get breakfast soon. 🙂

  2. I am glad to hear he is back to his happy self:) Great reminder for parents! I was always careful when clipping my nephews fingernails and toenails too. Hands and feet are where most infections take hold and thank goodness for ointment. Have a Great Day:)

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