The condition polydactyly refers to the presence of extra fingers or toes resulting from birth. These different fingers or toes can appear on either feet or one hand.


Polydactylos (“many fingers”) originates from the Greek poly (many). Extra fingers or toes are sometimes called supernumerary fingers or toes, which means “more than the normal number.” As a result, the condition is also known as extra digits.


What are the symptoms?

Share on Polydactyly most commonly manifests as minor finger duplication. Among the symptoms are:

  • A raised lump of soft tissue without bones (also called a nubbin)
  • Bones but no joints on a finger or toe that is partially formed
  • An intact finger or toe with healthy tissues, bones, and joints

You can categorize them as follows:

Polydactyly ulnare or postaxial: This is the most common form of the condition, where the extra finger is located outside of the little finger. The hand’s ulnar side is affected by this condition. It is known as fibular Polydactyly when this condition affects the toes.


Diastatic or preaxial Polydactyly or thumb duplication: Very rare, occurring in 1 in 10,000 live births. This condition presents with an extra finger outside the thumb. The radial finger refers to the side of the hand with a different finger. A tibial polydactyly occurs when the disease affects the toes.


Polydactyly central: This is a rare form of Polydactyly. One of the finger’s ends is attached to the ring, middle, or in most cases, the index finger. Toe enlargement is also called this condition when it occurs in the toes.


Polydactyly can run in families. Familial Polydactyly refers to Polydactyly that is passed down within a family. A person who suffers from Polydactyly will typically experience no symptoms associated with it.

It is also possible that Polydactyly may also be associated with a genetic disorder, which means it may be inherited with the disease. Despite not being passed down through the generations, Polydactyly occurs when a baby’s genes change in the womb.

  • The following conditions are associated with Polydactyly:
  • The webbed hands or feet are known as syndactyly.
  • Dystrophies of the thorax caused by asphyxia
  • Woodworker’s syndrome
  • It is also known as Elliott-van Creveld syndrome (chondroectodermal dysplasia).
  • There is a syndrome called Lawrence-Moon-Biedl
  • This is known as Rubinstein-Taybi’s syndrome
  • There is a syndrome called Smith-Lemli-Opitz
  • Thirteenth trisomy

The likelihood of some types of Polydactyly being inherited is higher. Inheritable conditions may influence some other types. Many small finger duplications are inherited.

There is a ten-fold increase in the condition’s prevalence in African-Americans than in other groups.

African-Americans tend to inherit minor finger duplication from a dominant gene that dominates the population. It is more prevalent in Caucasians when associated with a genetic condition.

Duplication of the thumb is generally isolated to one hand or foot. In addition to webbed hands or feet, people with central Polydactyly may also have peg-like fingers.

How is it diagnosed?

The X-ray can be used to diagnose Polydactyly of the fingers or toes. Polydactyly is analyzed by using X-ray imaging and physical examination. The doctor can examine the affected hand or foot for its bone structure by doing this.
In Polydactyly, the type of extra digit depends on how pronounced it is and where it is located. The doctor can identify these different digits using an X-ray.
To diagnose the cause, a doctor will ask about the patient’s medical history and family history.

You may have questions about:

● Are there any other members of the family with extra fingers or toes?
● Does anyone in the family have a history of genetic conditions?
● What other symptoms or concerns do you have?

The doctor may also perform additional tests, such as:

  • Studies on chromosomes
  • Analyses of enzymes
  • Research on metabolism

Polydactyly can sometimes be detected in the first three months of pregnancy. Fetoscopy or ultrasound can be used to detect this anomaly.

The treatment

Several factors determine the type of treatment someone needs. Their condition:

A small finger is duplicated.

People with small finger duplications may not need treatment because they can typically use their hands. However, some people may still wish to have their hands treated for cosmetic reasons.

Removing an extra small finger may be straightforward if it’s only partially formed and lacks any bones. The doctor may perform this by tying a string around the base of the extra finger. As a result, they cut off the soft tissue’s blood supply, and it falls off naturally. The procedure often takes place within one year of a baby’s birth.

In some cases, an extra small finger may have to be surgically removed if it is fully formed or functional.

Copying thumbs

Duplication of the thumb presents a more complicated treatment approach because the extra thumb can affect the functionality of the other thumb.

The thumb may not be easily removed for this reason. In some cases, parts of both thumbs can reconstruct one functional thumb.

An extra thumb may be removed in various ways depending on its position and development stage.

Polydactyly central

Occasionally, central Polydactyly leads to an extra finger that functions usually. Depending on the person’s wishes, the digit may be removed only if she desires it.


Polydactyly of the central limbs can be corrected surgically. Among these are:

  • By removing the additional central finger, tendons and ligaments are maintained to prevent deformities
  • Reconstructing the finger, it is attached to after removing the extra main finger
  • Two fingers are removed, and one new finger is reconstructed

If the patient has Polydactyly, the doctor will discuss these options. They will then decide the most effective course of treatment together.