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Marfanoid Body Shape

Posted By Alan Hakim, July 3, 2013

What is the ‘marfanoid body habitus’

This term is used to describe people with a very particular body shape – tall slender physique with long arms, hands, fingers, legs, feet and toes. It is made up of the following carefully assessed measures and observations that should be made by a medical or allied health professional. Not all the findings need to be present to use the term. This body shape is commonly found in Marfan Syndrome and Joint Hypermobility Syndrome.


  • An Arm Span to Height ratio > 1.03
  • A Hand length to Height ratio  > 11% (called arachnodactyly – also applies to the toes)
  • A Foot length to Height ratio > 15%
  • An Upper Body Segment to Lower Body Segment ratio < 0.89

Other features of the marfanoid habitus comprise:

  • A scoliosis (spinal curvature) of > 5 degrees (though a curve > 20 degrees is considered significant)
  • Either indenting or outward bulging of the breast bone (sternum) – so called Pectus deformities (excavatum or carinatum respectively)
  • Jaw deformities with overcrowding of teeth
  • A high-arch to the palate (roof of the mouth)
  • Long flat feet often, which flatten and turn inward at the mid-foot (pronate) when standing.

Version 1 Posted June 2013. Reviewed by Donna Wicks March 2017.  Planned Date of Review March 2020

Academic References

Grahame R, Hakim AJ. Arachnodactyly-a key to diagnosing heritable disorders of connective tissue. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2013 Jun;9(6):358-64.

Loeys BL, Dietz HC, Braverman AC, et al. The revised Ghent nosology for the Marfan syndrome. J Med Genet. 2010 Jul;47(7):476-85


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