Congenital Limb Defects | Symptoms & Causes

How common are congenital limb defects?

Different congenital limb defects are more common than others. For example, constriction band syndrome occurs in one out of every 10,000-15,000 births, while extra fingers/toes occur in one out of every 1,000 births.

Are congenital limb defects inherited?

Most congenital limb defects appear to be spontaneous, with no apparent cause. However, certain conditions such as extra finger/toes may be due to an inherited defect.

What causes congenital limb defects?

While we still don't know what causes most congenital limb defects, there are certain factors that can increase the risk for developing these conditions, including:

  • conditions affecting the baby in the uterus during development
  • exposures by the mother to chemicals or viruses while pregnant
  • specific medications

Some congenital limb defects, such as cleft hands, may be part of a syndrome that includes other symptoms. In these situations, some patients with cleft hands may also have cleft lip, foot abnormalities, deafness, or congenital conditions affecting the heart and digestive systems.