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 Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD – Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Martin Steinberg, MD – Hematology

Current as ofOctober 9, 2017