Hand or Finger Abnormalities

Congenital disorders of the hand are present at birth and occur when part or all of your baby’s hand does not develop appropriately during pregnancy.

Hand disorders are grouped based on the type of difference present, including:

  • Problems with the development of the entire hand or arm
  • Extra thumb or fingers
  • Parts of the hand fail to separate properly
  • Undergrown or overgrown hand, fingers or thumb

Although some congenital hand disorders are genetic, many are not hereditary and have no known cause. In most cases, they are not preventable and cannot be detected before birth.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

Symptoms of congenital hand disorders vary from mild to serious, depending on their severity. Each type has distinct symptoms, including:

  • Camptodactyly – bent finger that can't straighten
  • Cleft hand – middle portion of the hand missing one or two fingers
  • Club hand – hand that bends inward, small or no thumb
  • Hypoplastic thumb – unformed or nonexistent thumb
  • Polydactyly – extra fingers or thumb
  • Symbrachydactyly – underdeveloped hand with missing fingers
  • Syndactyly – fused or webbed fingers
  • Trigger thumb – thumb locked in a bent position

Diagnosis of a congenital hand disorder generally occurs at birth. It starts with an early consultation and detailed examination from an orthopedic specialist to determine the extent of your child’s condition.

Other testing may include:

  • Hand X-rays
  • Advanced imaging, including MRI scan
  • Genetic testing

The outlook for a congenital hand disorder varies according to the type and complexity of the condition. For some children, no intervention is needed. Others can be treated successfully with surgery, physical and occupational therapy or prosthetics.

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Top-Ranked by U.S. News & World Report

Penn State Health includes the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, ranked as one of the best orthopedic providers in the country by U.S. News & World Report. This honor was earned because our doctors consistently deliver exceptional patient care and outcomes through their commitment to advanced treatments, translational research and provider training.

Coordinated, Specialized Care Through a Dedicated Institute

Our orthopaedic specialists work together through our dedicated Penn State Bone and Joint Institute. There, they focus on providing you with multidisciplinary, tailored care and state-of-the-art treatments and technologies. This produces the highest-quality patient outcomes. All physicians at the institute are fellowship-trained and subspecialize in additional niche areas of orthopaedics, including arthritis care and joint arthroplasty (joint replacement surgery).

Designated as a Blue Distinction® Center

Penn State Bone and Joint Institute is a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement. This superior designation from BlueCross BlueShield is only given to health care facilities and providers that stand out for their expertise in delivering specialty knee and hip replacement care. Our surgeons specialize in a range of pain-relieving procedures, including partial knee replacement, total joint arthroplasty, joint preservation surgery and complex revision surgery. They perform more than 1,000 joint replacement procedures every year.

Confidence in Treatment Through Education

We developed a special joint replacement education website just for patients undergoing joint arthroplasty. The website takes you step by step through the joint replacement process. From things to consider before choosing surgery to recovery after surgery, you’ll find the information you need to help you feel confident in your decision to undergo joint replacement.

Advancing Orthopaedic Medicine Through Research

The doctors and researchers in our Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center are committed to advancing our field through scientific discovery and education. As the only academic medical center in central Pennsylvania, Hershey Medical Center is a national leader in research, in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine, and on the leading edge of new treatment options, including clinical trials.

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