The term congenital hand anomalies refers to defects of the hand and arm that are present at birth. Children may be born with many different type of hand anomalies, which can greatly affect the appearance and function of the hand.

Congenital hand anomalies may be part of some syndrome, or sometimes runs in a families. But in many cases, the exact cause is unknown.

Having a hand anomalies can be both physically and emotionally challenging. These children may need occupational therapy, surgery, or other treatments for better function and be more independent in life.


What are the different types of congenital hand deformities?

The American Society for Surgery of the Hand has classified congenital hand anomalies into 7 groups:

1- Problems in formation of the parts

This occurs when parts of hand or arm stop developing while the baby is still in the womb. This can lead to either a complete absence of a part of the hand, or a missing structure.

Types of these classification include:

  • Radial clubhand. A radial clubhand is a deformity that involves defects and deficiencies of the tissues on the thumb side (radial side) of the forearm and hand.

  • Ulnar clubhand. An ulnar clubhand deformity involves the bony and tissue deficiency on ulnar side of forearm and hand

2- Failure of parts of the hand to separate

This type of hand anomalies, involve the parts of the hand, either the bones or the tissues, fail to separate in the womb.

  • syndactyly. This involves when 2 or more fingers are fused together

  • contractures: A contracture is an abnormal pulling forward of the fingers of the hand
  • congenital triggering: occurs when one of the fingers is unable to extend. It is usually seen in the thumb.

3- Duplications of Fingers

Duplication of fingers is also known as polydactyly. The little finger is the most often affected.

Congenital Hand Anomalies

4- Undergrowth of fingers

5- Overgrowth of fingers

6- Congenital constriction band syndrome

7- Other generalized problems with the skeletal system

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Treatment for Congenital Hand Deformities

Specific treatment for congenital hand deformities will depend upon by the doctor assessment:

  • child age and overall health
  • severity of deformity
  • etiology of deformity
  • parents expectations or preference

Treatment may include:

  • Limb stretching and physiotherapy
  • Splinting
  • Surgical correction of deformity: There are several surgical procedures used to treat congenital hand anomalies. Your child’s doctor will recommend the procedure — as well as the age at which the procedure is performed:
    • Surgical procedures for congenital hand anomalies include:
      1. Separation of webbed or joined fingers
      2. Removal of extra fingers
      3. Reconstruction of fingers or other parts of the hand/upper extremity
  • Prosthetics: These may be used when surgery is not an option.

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