An unnaturally bent or curled finger is referred to as a clinodactyly in medicine. It is mainly caused by the aberrant development of the tiny bones in that finger. Alternatively, the growth plate of the hand may have an unusual form, or the bones may be growing in an unusual direction, which could explain the problem. Diagnostic procedures include x-rays, and treatment options include surgery if necessary.

Prevalence

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Unfortunately, it’s difficult to know exactly how many people are affected by this disease due to the wide range of degrees of finger curvature.

According to Boston Children’s Hospital, around 10% of the general population suffers from this illness, with severity ranging from mild to severe.

The Symptoms and Significance

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Fingers that are afflicted may be bent unnaturally or overlap other fingers, and they are most usually the pinky finger, although the fourth finger can be impacted as well.

In most cases, the anomaly is not painful or inflamed, however, it might be uncomfortable while using the hand that is affected. Hand function can be affected if the curve is more than 30 degrees.

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If the clinodactyly isn’t too severe, you may decide to wait for treatment, but if it is, there are various options available.

Causes

Clinodactyly is often just one element of a broader disorder like Down syndrome and can be inherited. One in four people with Down syndrome is affected. Klinefelter syndrome and Turner syndrome are also common causes.

Diagnosis

A doctor should check out any aberrant finger curvature in your child for an official diagnosis because the severity of clinodactyly can vary so drastically.

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Many hand problems can be diagnosed by performing a physical examination to see how much finger curvature affects function. Imaging tests like X-rays may be recommended by your doctor to examine the bones in your fingers and hand. 

It is also possible to perform range-of-motion testing to assess how the curvature affects functionality and how to best assist your child.

Treatment

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Clinodactyly may not necessitate immediate treatment, especially if the finger is slightly bent or there are no functional issues. Doctors may recommend that patients wait patiently or have regular evaluations of their hands and fingers to avoid worsening their condition. Your child’s finger may require therapy if the curvature exceeds 30 degrees.

Because the bones haven’t fully grown by the time the child is an adult, treatment is usually most effective when the child is an infant or toddler.

Your child’s age, curvature severity, and ability to recuperate from surgery are all factors the doctor will consider when formulating a treatment plan for your child.

Surgery

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A piece of the bent bone is removed during surgery if necessary to straighten the finger. A finger or joint can be made more stable in the future by releasing tension in the tendon or soft tissue.

The bones of the finger are then secured with pins or screws. Stabilizing the finger ensures that all its bones and tissues are in their right positions. The doctor will inspect the rest of the fingers and the hand to ensure the affected finger appears normal.

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The finger is immobilized in a cast or splint when it has been stabilized. Depending on the severity of the curvature and the scope of the operation, your kid will require several post-operative follow-up consultations.

In order to assist your kid in regaining a complete range of motion or adapting to a new range of mobility or functioning once the bandages or casts have been removed, the doctor may consider working with an occupational or physical therapy specialist in hand mobility.

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Inquire with your child’s doctor about whether or not this is essential, and how long it will take for your child to recover and return to normal activities fully.

Clinodactyly sufferers have a bright future. The range of motion and straightness of the finger can be restored with the right treatment.

If your child has clinodactyly, the doctor can assist you in deciding whether or not surgery is needed. Because every child is unique and the severity of their ailment varies, the course of their treatment and how quickly they recover will also be unique.