Merck Manual

Please confirm that you are not located inside the Russian Federation

honeypot link

Finger and Toe Defects

By

Simeon A. Boyadjiev Boyd

, MD, University of California, Davis

Last full review/revision May 2020| Content last modified May 2020
Click here for the Professional Version
Topic Resources

The fingers and toes may be abnormally formed, incompletely formed, or missing at birth.

Birth defects of the fingers and toes can occur while a baby is developing in the womb. For example, the baby may have too few fingers or toes. Or the baby may be born with extra fingers or toes.

In amniotic band syndrome, finger and toe defects (and other abnormalities) are caused when body parts are constricted by thin strands of tissue from the amniotic sac. The amniotic sac holds the amniotic fluid surrounding the developing fetus in the womb. The strands tangle around the fetus, like strings or rubber bands, trapping parts of its body and restricting growth of the body part.

Polydactyly is extra fingers or toes. The little fingers or toes and thumbs or big toes are the ones most commonly duplicated. The extra finger or toe may be just a nub of fleshy tissue or the extra finger or toe could be fully functioning, having its own nerve endings, bones, and joints.

Syndactyly is webbing or fusion of fingers or toes. In syndactyly, fingers or toes do not separate, producing a weblike hand or foot. In simple syndactyly, the soft tissues are fused together. In complex syndactyly, the bones and soft tissues are fused together.

Both polydactyly and syndactyly can occur on their own or as a part of a genetic syndrome such as Apert syndrome.

After birth, doctors typically take x-rays and may do other imaging tests to determine which bones are affected. When defects seem to run in the child's family or if doctors suspect the child has a genetic syndrome, they also examine the child for other physical abnormalities and take a sample of blood to do genetic testing.

Treatment of Finger and Toe Defects

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
Click here for the Professional Version
Others also read
Test your knowledge
Colic
Colic is the term used for a pattern of intense, excessive crying and fussing that occurs for no apparent reason in some infants. It typically begins within the first month of life. At what age does colic typically end?
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID

Also of Interest

Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
Download the Manuals App iOS ANDROID
TOP