KidsMD Health Topics


  • Clinodactyly means that your child has an abnormally bent or curved finger.

    • Clinodactyly is typically caused by abnormal growth and development of the small bones of the finger.
    • Clinodactyly is estimated to affect about 10 percent of the general population to varying degrees.

    Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program 

    The Hand and Orthopedic Upper Extremity Program provides comprehensive care involving occupational and physical therapy, splinting, casting and reconstructive surgeries for infants, children and adolescents with complex congenital, neuromuscular, sports-related oncologic and traumatic upper limb conditions. 

    Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery Program

    The specialists in the Hand and Reconstructive Microsurgery Program at Children's are experts in the management of congenital and acquired hand deformities. We recognize the social elements involved in pediatric hand surgery, so an essential part of these operations has been making the child?s hand as symmetrical as possible with his unaffected hand.

  • What causes clinodactyly?

    In many cases, your child’s growth plate in the hand may be an abnormal shape or have an abnormal orientation. Rather than grow perpendicular to the axis of the finger, therefore, these bones may change the direction they grow in, resulting in trapezoidal or triangular shaped bones.

    This can cause a shift in the alignment of the finger joints as well.

    How common is clinodactyly?

    The exact incidence of this condition is unknown, in part because there is no precise definition of what level of curvature is normal and abnormal. It tends to be present more commonly in boys and usually affects the small finger.

    It’s unusual to have it on both hands.

    Clinodactyly can be an inherited condition and may present as a part of an associated syndrome. A significant percentage of people with Down syndrome, for example, have clinodactyly.

  • How is clinodactyly diagnosed?

    Clinodactyly is diagnosed by your child’s doctor after a thorough medical history and careful physical examination.

    X-rays are also used to confirm the diagnosis.

  • How is clinodactyly treated?

    Mild finger curvature rarely causes pain or functional problems. For these reasons, surgery is not typically recommended for children with mild curvature and no functional problems.

    Because abnormalities in the growth plate often contribute to clinodactyly, it is important for affected children to be monitored throughout growth and checked for progressive changes.


    If your child's finger curvature increases rapidly, or if it progresses to the point where it interferes with her hand function, your child's doctor may recommend surgery.

    Surgical procedures typically involve making a cut in the bone, correcting the deformity and stabilizing the finger until the bone and soft tissue are healed.

    While surgery is usually successful in correcting the curvature, there is a risk for recurrence and need for future surgery.

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