Hair Tourniquet: Is There a Connection to Child Abuse?


Swelling and redness have progressed over the past 16 hours in this 5-month-old boy. Would you consider child abuse in your differential diagnosis? We invite your comments. Click here for details.

Case and photo courtesy of Gregory Wallace, DO

The child’s mother noticed the child’s red and swollen toe while bathing the child the night before she brought him for care. There was no significant medical history, and no history of foot abnormalities or infections. The child reportedly only wore socks or booties and had not worn new footwear. There had never been any concerns of abuse or neglect in the family. Does this history support your diagnosis, or would you still consider possible child abuse?

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