What does Abraham Lincoln, Michael Phelps, and Isaiah Austin have in common?

November 24, 2014
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Although Abraham Lincoln and Michael Phelps were rumored to have Marfan Syndrome, we know for sure that basketball star Isaiah Austin was recently diagnosed with the condition.  Although his career was cut short, the tests he underwent may have saved his life.

 What is Marfan Syndrome?

1 in 5,000 people will be born with Marfan syndrome; a condition that causes a particular protein (Fibrillin-1) to not be made properly.  The lack of Fibrillin-1 causes an increase in another protein known as Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF-?.)  TGF-? is used to make connective tissue, and with too much of it, you get problems along with “marfanoid characteristics.”

Can you tell that someone has Marfan Syndrome by looking at their feet?

Yes!  Marfan Syndrome affects many parts of the body including the feet.  There are several characteristics of the feet, when combined with other findings, that are suspicious for Marfan Syndrome including:

  • Tall and slim build
  • Disproportionally long thin legs and toes
  • Flat feet
  • Ability to hyperextend joints
  • Low bone density (osteopenia)

Other symptoms commonly associated with Marfan Syndrome include heart problems, crowded teeth, eye problems, bone and joint issues, abdominal pain, and lower back pain, etc.

Advanced Foot Care Centers at Chattanooga, TN is a medical practice that specializes in care for the feet.  Schedule your appointment with Dr. Kraus, one of our podiatrists at this location, by calling (423)-698-1966.  He can help you learn more about Marfan Syndrome, and provide information for managing or avoiding common complications seen in the feet.

By: Ira Kraus

Advanced Foot Care Centers
4308 Brainerd Rd
Chattanooga, TN 37411

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