One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A condition in which a band of fibrous tissue grows around the base of a toe, especially the fifth, eventually resulting in loss of the digit. It occurs mainly in the tropics and is associated with going barefoot, though its cause is unknown.
- ‘Because the occurrence of ainhum is rare, discussion of the disease is lacking in medical literature.’
- ‘Three cases of Ainhum are reported and injections of cortisone were given with temporary relief.’
- ‘We describe the case of an Italian Caucasian man with ainhum involving both big toes.’
- ‘Sailor John certainly had ainhum.’
- ‘Ainhum: clinical photograph shows the characteristic deep constricting groove in the plantar digital fold along the medial aspect of the fifth toe.’
Late 19th century: from Portuguese, based on Yoruba eyun ‘saw’.
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