When Achenbach syndrome is a hematoma on the hand or in the fingers. Very rarely does a hematoma develop in the toe or foot area. However, Achenbach syndrome often occurs very suddenly and for no drastic reason. The syndrome is also known medically as finger apoplexy, paroxysmal hand hematoma or paroxysmal finger hematoma.
What is Achenbach Syndrome?
Achenbach syndrome is a hematoma on the hand or in the area of the fingers.
In Achenbach syndrome, named after the discoverer and the Cologne internist Dr. Walter Achenbach, the hematomas typically appear on the fingers or hands. According to statistics, women are affected slightly more often than men.
Here, too, it can be seen that older women and middle-aged women are affected more often than young women, teenagers or girls. In rare cases it is not the hands that are affected by Achenbach syndrome, but the feet and toes. The unusual thing about Achenbach syndrome is that the painful bruises appear very suddenly for no apparent reason.
Because unlike natural hematomas, which arise, for example, from external influences, these are not present in finger apoplexy. So there are clearly visible and noticeable symptoms, but no understandable cause. Therefore, one speaks here of paroxysmal (in German spontaneous) hematomas.
The actual causes of Achenbach syndrome are so far unknown. In the meantime, however, it is strongly suspected that the hematomas are often triggered by local vascular weakness, damage to the vascular walls, constricted vessels or hormonal and / or neuro-vegetative fluctuations and disorders.
Hormonal fluctuations in particular could be a probable cause, as statistically a large number of women during the menopause complain of Achenbach syndrome. It should be added that the hematomas are usually not of a one-off appearance.
Often these occur again and again at the same complaint offices. This in turn suggests weakened vessels. Light impacts or banal external influences can also have an effect here and result in a corresponding spontaneous hematoma.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
In Achenbach syndrome, bruises form on the fingers and inner surfaces of the hands, as well as on the feet and toes. The bruises are usually accompanied by sharp pain that increases with pressure. There is also a slight discoloration of the skin on the affected area. The area around the bruises usually swells and turns blue as it progresses, similar to natural hematomas .
In some patients there are also psychosomatic complaints. This can lead to a feeling of coldness or pain during movements that cannot initially be traced back to any cause. In general, patients with Achenbach syndrome feel a relatively strong discomfort, which increases in intensity as the disease progresses.
The symptoms spread from the fingers and toes to the arms and legs and, if left untreated, can affect large parts of the body. If it is severe, there may be restrictions in movement due to the bruises and the associated pain. Achenbach syndrome can also cause the limbs to overheat. This is accompanied by a number of other symptoms such as fever , chills and dizziness .
Diagnosis & course
In most cases, Achenbach syndrome is noticeable as a slight tenderness to pressure and subtle discoloration of the skin. This is followed quickly by a slight swelling and a bluish discoloration, as we usually know from natural hematomas (e.g. caused by bruises or bumps).
The difference here is that there is mostly no apparent cause. Sometimes patients also complain of feelings of cold and, very often, pain from movement and local pain . This is often due to the swelling and bruising.
The diagnosis is made through an extensive examination of the affected part of the body by a specialist (for example, an internist). The disease usually progresses as spontaneously and quickly as it appeared. Often the apparent injury heals within a few days and the swelling and hematoma recede.
From a medical point of view, Achenbach syndrome is a harmless disease that is only associated with harmless symptoms such as a feeling of pressure, slight swelling, feeling cold and a bluish discoloration of the palm of the hand or fingers. There are no known complications in the course of this disease, as the symptoms usually go away as quickly as they appeared.
The accompanying symptoms can be compared with a classic hematoma, with the difference that in this case no visible injuries can be identified. Achenbach syndrome can be very painful, but in many cases these symptoms are only mild. A significant improvement is usually achieved by keeping the affected hand or fingers restrained and restrained.
Even cool compresses and ointments, which act against swelling and pain, can alleviate the symptoms within a short time and favor the healing process positively. Overwork and premature overexertion should be avoided, as Achenbach syndrome can also be caused by weak vessels or unstable vessel walls, which lead to the hematoma-like bruise.
However, if this disease occurs repeatedly, a specialist, preferably an internist, should be consulted to get to the bottom of the symptoms. It is not uncommon for another cause to be the reason for the complaints. Middle-aged women, who are generally prone to weak vascular walls and hormonal and neurovegetative disorders, are often affected by this disease.
When should you go to the doctor?
Achenbach syndrome does not have to be examined and treated in every case. As a rule, the syndrome occurs primarily after a stroke or an accident and is a common complaint. Achenbach syndrome normally heals on its own without any complications. If the pain is not too severe, no medical treatment is necessary.
There will also be swelling and bruising. If the pain is extremely severe, you can go to the hospital directly. The affected person should cool the respective area and not move or press it. Painkillers can also be taken temporarily. However, the person concerned should consult a doctor if Achenbach syndrome occurs for no particular reason or if Achenbach syndrome occurs more often without an injury or accident having occurred beforehand. In this case, there may be another underlying condition that needs to be identified and treated to avoid consequential damage.
Treatment & Therapy
The treatment of Achenbach syndrome usually proceeds according to the same principle that is followed with a natural hematoma. With cooling, ointments and strict protection of the affected part of the body, the Achenbach syndrome can be regressed.
Furthermore, during the healing phase, you should avoid heavy loads and keep the affected hand or foot still as far as possible. This is particularly important in the case of apoplexy, as this can also have been caused by a weak or damaged vessel.
Premature overexertion or strain could slow healing or even make symptoms worse. By the way, Achenbach syndrome is considered a harmless disease. Nevertheless, if symptoms and outbreaks accumulate, more detailed treatments and investigations should be considered to determine the cause.
Outlook & forecast
Achenbach syndrome primarily causes various complaints of the fingers. The fingers are mainly affected by stabbing and burning pain. Furthermore, bruises often occur on the inside of the hand and also on the fingers themselves.
In most cases, the fingers are swollen and there is severe pain. This pain can occur in the form of pain at rest or movement pain and can put a considerable strain on the everyday life of the person concerned. As a result, certain movements and activities in the patient’s everyday life are usually no longer possible without further ado.
Treatment of Achenbach syndrome is not necessary in every case. Most of the time the symptoms disappear after about a day and there are no particular complaints or complications. Life expectancy is also not influenced by Achenbach syndrome.
If the pain in the fingers and hands occurs over a longer period of time, it can also lead to depression or other psychological complaints.
Achenbach syndrome can only be counteracted to a very limited extent. If it is known that one suffers from weak vessels or unstable vessel walls, this should be taken into account as much as possible. On the one hand, activities that could lead to discomfort should be avoided as far as possible. On the other hand, the affected hand, the affected finger or the affected toe should be immobilized immediately and thoroughly cooled at the first symptoms.
In most cases, aftercare is not possible with Achenbach syndrome. It is a hereditary disease that can only be treated symptomatically and not causally. The affected person is mostly dependent on lifelong treatment.
Hereditary advice can also be useful if you want to have children. This prevents the syndrome from being passed on to children. The exact treatment for this syndrome depends on the doctor and the severity of the malformations. In some cases, these malformations are treated with the help of plastic surgery.
After such a surgical procedure, the person affected should rest and take care of their body as much as possible. In doing so, strenuous activities or sporting activities should be avoided in order to protect the body and accelerate healing. A complete cure of the Achenbach syndrome cannot, however, be achieved.
In some cases, the patient’s life expectancy is also significantly reduced as a result of the syndrome. Furthermore, the loving care by relatives and friends also has a very positive effect on the course of the disease, whereby contact with other affected persons can also be useful, as this leads to an exchange of information.