Hypertrophic osteoarthropathy

Hypertrophic osteoarthropathy

My fingers have significant clubbing. This disorder bothers me so much that it has become an obsession. Why is my clubbing more severe than that of friends who have CF and are sicker than me? Are there any tried-and-true methods to make it disappear?

Clubbing (hypertrophic osteoarthropathy) is linked to the widening of blood vessels and increased growth of tissues under the fingernails and toenails. The end result is a lifting at the base of the nail and an increase in size at the tips of the toes and fingers. The degree of clubbing is measured by looking at the finger from the side, and checking the increase of the angle at the point where the nail joins the skin. Advanced hypertrophic osteoarthropathy gives the fingers the appearance of drumsticks.

Clubbing doesn’t occur only in CF; other lung diseases, heart conditions and liver and bowel disorders can also cause this phenomenon.

In cystic fibrosis, the extent of clubbing varies in individuals with similar lung problems, and there are no known reasons why. In general, however, clubbing progresses with the deterioration of the lungs. Clubbing may disappear when the underlying illness is cured, for example, by removing a lung tumour or healing a lung abscess. In the past, this could not be done for people with cystic fibrosis. It was recently noted, however, that clubbing can diminish or even disappear in people who receive lung transplants.

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