A British grandmother has baffled the medical community, and proved she’s as tough as nails, after living her entire life with serious deformities in her hands and feet and never talking to a doctor about it.
The 94-year-old unnamed grandmother was recently admitted to hospital following a urinary tract infection when doctors noticed she had severe deformities in all four limbs. According to a report published in BMJ Journal, the woman has Ectrodactyly – a birth defect that makes the hands and feet look like lobster claws.
Authors of the report said despite her disability, the woman has lived without support or assistance and was able to independently complete her daily activities. The grandmother was said to be a keen knitter and regularly made clothes for her three children and son.
Also known as Split Hand/Split Foot Malformation (SHFM), the condition is a genetic disorder that is characterised by the complete or partial loss of fingers and toes. According to website Rare Diseases, SHFM often sees those diagnosed with combined clefts in the hand or foot.
Those living with the condition can also develop webbing between the fingers and toes, giving off an appearance similar to a lobster claw.
Study author Javid Rahmani shared his findings online, as well as an image of the woman’s hands.
The condition can result in an array of deformities, which range in severity. It’s typically inherited and impacts around one in 18,000 births. For many, reconstructive surgery can be performed to help those with the condition lead a healthier life.
In others, prosthetics can help to achieve normal hand and foot function. In more extreme cases, patients may be affected by a lack of tear ducts, cleft lip and palate, as well as a loss of hair, eyelashes and eyebrows. SHFM is usually diagnosed at birth, when doctors notice a baby missing fingers and toes.
According to the Daily Mail, the woman was still in good health, despite missing thumbs and having just two fingers on each hand. Because these remaining fingers haven’t been impacted by her condition, she has been able to continue knitting and complete many day-to-day activities.
Her feet were slightly more deformed than her hands and appeared to be missing bone for the middle toes, further giving her feet a claw-like appearance. Because the woman had coped more than nine decades with her condition, she didn’t require reconstructive surgery or prosthetics.
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