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    Webbing of the fingers or toes

    Syndactyly; Polysyndactyly

    Webbing of the fingers and toes is called syndactyly. It refers to theconnectionof two or more fingers or toes. Webbing usually only involves a skin connection between the two areas, but in rare cases may involve the connection (fusion) of bones.


    Syndactyly may be discovered during an examination of an infant or child. In its most common form, it is seen as webbing between the second and third toes. This form is often inherited and is not unusual. Syndactyly can also occur along with other birth defects involving the skull, face, and bones.

    The web connections usually run up to the first joint of the finger or toe, but may run the entire length.

    "Polysyndactyly" describes both webbing and the presence of an extra number of fingers or toes.


    Morecommon causes:

    • Down syndrome
    • Hereditary syndactyly

    Veryrare causes:

    • Apert syndrome
    • Carpenter syndrome
    • Cornelia de Lange syndrome
    • Pfeiffer syndrome
    • Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome
    • Use ofthe medication hydantoin during pregnancy (fetal hydantoin effect)

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    This condition is normally discovered at birth and evaluated during the newborn hospital stay.

    What to Expect at Your Office Visit

    The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about the child's medical history. Questions may include:

    • Which fingers (toes) are involved?
    • Have any other family members had this problem?
    • What other symptoms or abnormalities are also present?

    An infant with webbing may have other symptoms that together may be signs of one syndrome or condition. That condition is diagnosedbased on a family history, medical history, and physical exam.

    The following tests may be done:

    • Chromosome studies
    • Lab tests to check for certain proteins (enzymes) and metabolic problems
    • X-rays

    An orthopedic surgeon may perform surgery to separate the connectedfingers or toes.


    Carrigan RB. The upper limb. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 673.


          A Closer Look

            Self Care

              Tests for Webbing of the fingers or toes

                Review Date: 12/1/2011

                Reviewed By: John Goldenring, MD, MPH, JD, Pediatrician with the Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group, San Diego, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

                The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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                St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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