Skip to main content

What Is Polydactyly?

Polydactyly is the condition in which your child’s hand has one or more extra fingers, or their foot has one or more extra toes. There are three types of polydactyly, each based on where the extra finger or toe is located. Pre-axial polydactyly is when the extra toe or finger is located outside the thumb or big toe. Post-axial polydactyly is when the extra toe or finger is located outside the little finger or little toe. Central polydactyly is when the extra toe or finger is located in between other fingers or toes.


What Causes Polydactyly?

While a baby is still in the womb, each hand grows in the shape of a paddle. As time goes on, the hand splits into separate fingers. Polydactyly happens when there is a disruption in this process. Sometimes polydactyly occurs due to genetics, however, in some cases times there is no cause at all.


Polydactyly Symptoms and Effects

Your child is experiencing symptoms of polydactyly if they have an extra finger or toe on their hand or foot.


Polydactyly Diagnosis and Treatment

To determine if your child has polydactyly, your child’s provider performs a physical examination. A hand specialist and plastic surgeon can also be consulted.

Polydactyly is typically treated right away. If there are no bones attached to the extra finger or toe, a vascular clip is used. This is when the blood flow to the toe or finger is cut off. After a short time, it will fall off naturally. In other cases, surgery may be necessary.

Your child’s provider also may look for macrodactyly or syndactyly, which are conditions that also affect hands and feet.


Your Care Options

When you come to Gillette, your child will receive care in a family-centered environment, designed to help your child achieve their highest possible levels of independence, comfort and happiness.

Gillette offers fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons who specialize in caring for children, along with a vast team of collaborative experts in a variety of specialties. You’ll get help understanding which specialty areas might be best for your child—for polydactyly treatment, your family might work with experts in:

Call our clinic today to schedule an appointment.