I received an email via our iPhone App from a mom who was worried that her daughter had a “crooked” finger. She did not give any more specifics, but the most common finding in children is a curvature of the 5th or “pinky” finger called clinodactyly. The word clinodactyly is derived from the Greek words kliner “ to bend” and dactylos, “a finger”. Clinodactyly is typically caused by abnormal growth and development of the small bones of the finger resulting in the curvature of the finger in the same plane as the palm.
Clinodactyly may occur in up to 10% of the population, but occurs to different degrees. It is typically a benign condition but has been associated with numerous syndromes where it occurs in combination with other abnormalities.
There are several common characteristics seen with clinodactyly. It is more common in males and is often bilateral (occurs on both hands). It is frequently seen in families as an inherited “condition” and is thought to be autosomal dominant, so when you go to a family reunion look at everyone’s fingers as you probably have a lot of siblings or cousins who have the same bent finger.
When clinodactyly is minimal and does not cause any problem the best treatment is simply watchful waiting. If the “deformity” becomes progressive as a child grows, then xrays may be obtained to further delineate the abnormality and surgical treatment may be undertaken. A board certified hand surgeon would be the preferred choice to do this surgery.