Mutilating hand syndrome in an infant with familial carpal tunnel syndrome

Muscle Nerve. 1998 Jan;21(1):104-11. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1097-4598(199801)21:1<104::aid-mus13>;2-3.


A 7-month-old infant, son of consanguinous Indian parents, presented with recurrent chewing of his digits in a median nerve distribution as the primary manifestation of carpal tunnel syndrome, in conjunction with features consistent with congenital insensitivity to pain. Electromyography (EMG) demonstrated severe median nerve entrapment at the wrist bilaterally, but other nerves were normal. In spite of clinical evidence of diffuse pain insensitivity, sural nerve and skin biopsies were normal, and he had no evidence of autonomic dysfunction. Hand findings evolved with scarring and infection of median innervated digits and loss of fine motor skills. Carpal tunnel release resulted in complete clinical resolution and significant EMG improvement. Milder symptoms and EMG evidence of median nerve entrapment were demonstrated in both parents, paternal grandparents, and several of his father's siblings. We hypothesize this child may be homozygous for a mutant allele that in its heterozygous state predisposes to familial autosomal dominant carpal tunnel syndrome. Homozygosity for this or another mutant allele may be responsible for his congenital insensitivity to pain.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Boston
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / genetics*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / psychology*
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome / surgery
  • Consanguinity
  • Electromyography
  • Fingers
  • Humans
  • India / ethnology
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Mastication
  • Median Nerve / abnormalities
  • Median Nerve / anatomy & histology
  • Median Nerve / physiopathology*
  • Motor Neurons / physiology
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology
  • Pedigree
  • Self Mutilation / etiology
  • Self Mutilation / physiopathology*
  • Self-Injurious Behavior
  • Syndrome