Indian Journal of Dermatology
  Publication of IADVL, WB
  Official organ of AADV
Indexed with Science Citation Index (E) , Web of Science and PubMed
Users online: 5489  
Home About  Editorial Board  Current Issue Archives Online Early Coming Soon Guidelines Subscriptions  e-Alerts    Login  
    Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Print this page Email this page

Year : 2008  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 93-95
Olmsted syndrome

Department of Dermatology and STD, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Pramod Kumar
Saham Hospital, PO Box-17, PC-319, Oman

Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5154.41657

Rights and Permissions


Olmsted syndrome is a rare disorder characterized by the combination of periorificial, keratotic plaques and bilateral palmoplantar keratoderma. New associated features are being reported. Olmsted syndrome is particularly rare in a female patient, and we report such a case in a six year-old Indian girl, who presented with keratoderma of her soles since birth and on her palms since the age of two years along with perioral and perinasal hyperkeratosis. She had sparse, light brown, thin hair. Although the psychomotor development of the child was normal until 18 months of age, the keratoderma plaques had restricted the child's mobility after that stage.

Keywords: Genodermatosis, hypotrichosis, Olmsted syndrome, onychodystrophy, palmoplantar keratoderma

How to cite this article:
Kumar P, Sharma P K, Kar H K. Olmsted syndrome. Indian J Dermatol 2008;53:93-5

How to cite this URL:
Kumar P, Sharma P K, Kar H K. Olmsted syndrome. Indian J Dermatol [serial online] 2008 [cited 2023 Dec 8];53:93-5. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Olmsted syndrome (congenital palmoplantar and perioral keratoderma) is a very rare disorder, named after H. C. Olmsted, whose original description of the disorder included a combination of bilateral, mutilating, palmoplantar keratoderma and periorificial hyperkeratotic plaques with flexion deformities of the digits, leading to constriction or spontaneous amputation. [1] Bilateral palmoplantar keratoderma and periorificial hyperkeratotic plaques are the hallmarks for diagnosis of this condition. [2]

Many features have been subsequently associated with this syndrome and new features continue to be reported. Five cases have now been reported [3] but only one has been observed in a female so far. [4] Nevertheless, Olmsted syndrome still remains a rarely reported condition. We report here the case of a six year-old female child, who had bilaterally symmetrical, palmoplantar keratoderma, perioral and perinasal hyperkeratosis, onychodystrophy and hypotrichosis.

   Case History Top

A six year-old female child presented with excessively thickened skin over her palms and soles. The child was born of a normal vaginal delivery with redness on both her soles; after a few months, the skin over the soles got thickened and started peeling off. Similar thickening began on the palms at the age of two years and warty spots on the sides of the mouth and nose were also noticed. Later, the parents noted that the child's hair was short, not dense and was very slow to grow unlike the children of her age. Her developmental milestones were however, appropriate for her age. The ugly keratoderma had restricted her mobility; hence, the child could not mingle with her peers. There was no history of hyperhidrosis, consanguinity or any skin disease in the family.

Examination revealed an active girl with apparently normal intelligence. Her physical parameters were within normal limits for her age. Cutaneous examination revealed thick, hyperkeratotic plaques with underlying erythema on the thenar eminence of both palms and fingers [Figure 1]. The keratotic plaques were hard, well defined, 3 cm 4 cm in size, thick in places and thin in others and extended to the dorsum of the distal phalanges. The lesions on the soles had formed 'Keratotic Sandals' [Figure 2] with underlying erythema and thick adherent scales. Keratoderma on the soles had extended to involve the dorsum of the feet along the borders. There were some flexion deformities on both soles. Verrucous plaques were seen on the angles of the mouth and around the nares [Figure 3]. Nails of both hands corresponding to skin involvement on the fingers were lusterless and ridged. Similarly, all toenails were lusterless and rough. The nails on last two toes of the right foot were spared, as was the skin. Hair over the scalp, eyebrows and eyelashes was thin, sparse and light brown in color. Oral, genital and ocular mucosa, joints and teeth were found to be normal.

Routine hemogram, peripheral smear, liver and renal function tests, urine and stool examination did not reveal any abnormality. Blood for venereal diseases research laboratory test was non-reactive. Potassium hydroxide mount of the skin scrapings did not show the presence of any fungus. Serum zinc estimation was not available.

Histopathology examination of the lesions showed thick layer of keratosis, parakeratosis, thickened granular cell layer, acanthosis and irregular elongation of rete ridges. Sparse perivascular mononuclear infiltrate was visible in the papillary dermis. A few sweat ducts were also seen. Hair appeared to have less pigment and hair shafts were thin when observed under a light microscope.

Therapy with oral zinc did not improve the condition at all. Salicylic acid with Clobetasol propionate combination in ointment base did not affect the tough scales. Paring was done and a Urea and Lactic acid combination used, which resulted in some relief.

   Discussion Top

Olmsted described a five year-old male who developed sharply marginated, palmoplantar keratoderma during his first year of life. The thick keratoderma led to flexion deformities and autoamputation of the digits. Periorificial, sharply marginated, hyperkeratotic plaques were also present. [1]

Reports of new cases have lengthened the list of cutaneous and systemic features that may be seen in this syndrome. However, it is widely accepted that two major findings that are prerequisites for diagnosis of this syndrome are the symmetrical involvement of the palms and soles with keratoderma, and symmetrical hyperkeratotic plaques in the periorificial areas. [2]

Our patient had bilaterally symmetrical palmoplantar keratoderma, symmetrical perioral and perinasal keratotic plaques, onychodystrophy and hypotrichosis. Leukokeratosis, pseudoainhum, joint laxity and dental abnormalities were absent. Other features reported occasionally in this syndrome are hyperkeratotic follicular lesions, linear hyperkeratosis of extensor surfaces on the extremities, hyperhidrosis of the palms and soles, anhidrosis, leukokeratosis, chronic blepharitis, absent premolars, hearing loss, corneal epithelial dysplasia and corneal opacities. [2]

Palmoplantar keratoderma and perioral and perinasal keratotic plaques were diagnostic of Olmsted syndrome in our patient, thus excluding other syndromes of keratodermas including  Mal de Meleda More Details, Vohwinkel syndrome and Pachyonychia congenita. Failure to respond to oral Zinc therapy ruled out the possibility of acrodermatitis enteropathica.

This syndrome seems to be of sporadic occurrence [4] although a familial case possibly due to autosomal dominant transmission [5] and another case with X-linked dominant inheritance in two monozygotic male twins have been reported. [6] Kress et al. found a defect in the expression of mature epidermal keratins (types 1 and 10) and persistence of acidic keratins (types 5 and 14) in the involved epidermis. [7] The majority of the published cases have been males; it has been rarely reported in females. [8]

The disease has a slow but progressive course. The keratoderma becomes extremely thick and may interfere with normal walking. Fissuring around the toes that heals with a constricting band of tissue, leading to autoamputation of the digits, has been reported. [4] The periorificial lesions may or may not improve with age.

There is no satisfactory treatment for this condition. Topical treatments offer only symptomatic relief of pain and fissures by reducing the thickness of the keratotic palmoplantar skin lesions. Various topical agents like salicylic acid, urea, boric acid, corticosteroids, shale oil, other emollients, retinoic acid, antimicrobials, wet dressings and prolonged soaking of the affected parts in water, have been tried with varying success. Systemic treatment with antihistamines, vitamins E and A, antimicrobials, corticosteroids have also been used anecdotally with no consistent benefits. [2]

   References Top

1.Olmsted HC. Keratoderma palmaris et plantaris congenitalis: Report of a case showing associated lesions of unusual location. Am J Dis Child 1927;33:757-64.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Frias-Iniesta J, Sanchez-Pedreno P, Martinez-Escribano JA, Jimenez-Martinez A. Olmsted syndrome: Report of a new case. Br J Dermatol 1997;136:935-8.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Griffiths WAD, Leigh IM, Marks R. Disorders of keratinization. In : Champion RH, Burton JL, Ebling FJG, editors. Text book of dermatology. 5 th ed. London: Blackwell Scientific Publications; 1993. p. 1376-7.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Al-Mutairi N, Sharma AK, Nour Eldin O, Al-Adawy E. Olmsted syndrome: Report of a new case with unusual features. Clin Exp Dermatol 2005;30:640-2.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Atherton DJ, Sutton C, Jones BM. Mutilating palmoplantar keratoderma with periorificial keratotic plaques (Olmsted's syndrome). Br J Dermatol 1990;122:245-52.  Back to cited text no. 5  [PUBMED]  
6.Cambiaghi S, Tadini G, Barbareschi M, Caputo R. Olmsted syndrome in twins. Arch Dermatol 1995;131:738-9.  Back to cited text no. 6  [PUBMED]  
7.Kress DW, Seraly MP, Falo L, Kim B, Jegasothy BV, Cohen B. Olmsted syndrome: Case report and identification of a keratin abnormality. Arch Dermatol 1996;132:797-800.  Back to cited text no. 7  [PUBMED]  
8.Ogawa F, Udono M, Murota H, Shimizu K, Takahashi H, Ishida-Yamamoto A, et al . Olmsted syndrome with squamous cell carcinoma of extremities and adenocarcinoma of the lung: Failure to detect loricrin gene mutation. Eur J Dermatol 2003;13:524-8.  Back to cited text no. 8  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

This article has been cited by
1 Genodermatoses with hearing impairment
Lamiaa Hamie, Edward Eid, Samar Khalil, Nohra Ghaoui, Ossama Abbas, Maria Hamie, Pierre Abi Akl, Mazen Kurban
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 2021; 85(4): 931
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Olmsted syndrome in three sisters in a family
Prasenjeet Mohanty, Gaurav Dash, Liza Mohapatra, ManasRanjan Puhan
Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology. 2018; 84(4): 522
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
3 Olmsted syndrome: clinical, molecular and therapeutic aspects
Sabine Duchatelet,Alain Hovnanian
Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases. 2015; 10(1)
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Print this article  Email this article
   Next article
   Previous article 
   Table of Contents
    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Article in PDF (101 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Case History
    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded194    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 3    

Recommend this journal