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King Tutankhamun May Have Had Scoliosis

Scientists and doctors have discovered that King Tutankhamun may have had Scoliosis. There was a “U” shaped headrest found that scientists believe was a headrest for Tut to keep his head and his spine in a straight line. Evidence also showed that one of Tut’s children buried with him may have also had Scoliosis. This provides evidence for the purported genetic etiology of scoliosis.

A 2010 article by the Journal of the American Medical Association outlined a study of the Egyptian king that estimates his death at around 17-19 years of age. Based on tests conducted on the remains of Tut, it is believed he died at such a young age of conditions including malaria and complications from a leg fracture.

The researchers CAT scanned King Tut’s mummy and also discovered he had severe kyphoscoliosis an abnormal curvature of the spine in both coronal and sagittal planes. It is a combination of kyphosis (a curving of the spine that causes a rounding of the back, which leads to a hunchback or slouching posture) and scoliosis. They also found that he had oligodactyly, a toe malformation. They speculated that the condition would have made his left foot swell and would have caused excruciating pain when he walked.

Ancient drawings depict Tut shooting arrows sitting in a chariot, which researchers say is unusual. 130 walking sticks were found in Tut’s tomb. They were originally thought to merely represent power but now are thought to be ancient forms of crutches or canes. It is believed that Tut may have used them because he had difficulty walking and standing. Paintings, like the one below, found in Tut’s tomb show him leaning on such canes/crutches with his legs crossed awkwardly underneath him.

king tut scoliosis
Painting depicting Tut with cane.

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