Congenital Hand Deformities​


Congenital hand deformities are abnormalities present at birth, in a hand or arm. 

The foetus develops these deformities during early pregnancy. They can be minor, such as a digital disproportion, or major, such as the absence of an entire bone. Some of the more common anomalies include:

  • Failure of the certain regions of hands to develop, leading to a shortening of bone, missing part of the hand or absence of the hand itself

  • Failure of the bones or tissues of the hand to separate, leading to webbing or joined fingers

  • Under grown (small or absent) or overgrown (abnormally large) digits

  • Duplication of digits, most commonly seen in the thumb and little finger

  • Constriction band syndrome, in which a finger or arm is constricted, hindering the flow of blood and normal growth

The exact cause of these deformities is not known. It can be hereditary or due to any type of a syndrome. Sometimes it occurs without any practical explanation. Basically, during the foetal development stage, hands and arms develop in numerous steps. If one of these steps fails to occur, the hand features a deformity. 

One in twenty children is born with some form of hand deformity. ​​

You can easily recognize the anomaly as the common symptoms of congenital hand deformities are easy to recognize and include:

  • Having more or less number of fingers than normal

  • Having webbed or joined fingers

  • Having fingers that will not bend or straighten

  • Missing or short bones of the hand or arm

​If you notice the aforementioned deformities you can consult a specialist to determine if your child needs any treatment. You can seek the medical advice of our doctors working with the Children's Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital.

​Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

Initially, your child’s doctor will ask you about your family’s medical history followed by a thorough physical exam of your child’s hand and arm. Following this, your child may be asked to undergo the following tests:

  • X-rays in which a small amount of radiation will be used to generate an image of your child’s bones

  • Computerized Tomography (CT) scans in which a series of detailed images, of the body, will be taken by a computer. This is done to produce a more detailed image

Your child may also require a complete paediatric evaluation to eliminate any possibility of other serious anomalies.

Treatment options include:

  • Limb manipulation and stretching in which the limb will be straightened and stretched to allow it to regain its normal motion

  • Tendon transfer in which the injured tendon will be replaced by a healthy functioning tendon

  • Attaching a splint to stretch the finger to its original position

  • Repairing the constrictions in muscles, ligaments and skin

  • Skin grafts in which skin from another part of the body will be extracted and transplanted to correct the deformity

  • Prosthetics, when surgery is not an option

  • External appliances to assist realignment of the hand

  • Surgery to correct the deformity. It is recommended to get it done before your child turns two.

​The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

​Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage




The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.