Congenital Hand Deformities

congenital-hand-deformityCongenital deformities of the hand are physical deformities present at birth that can significantly affect a child’s hand function and appearance.

Deformities may occur as a result of abnormal development, birth injuries or genetic factors, and can involve fingers that are fused together (syndactyly), an underdeveloped hand (clubhand), extra fingers (polydactyly) and other abnormalities.

Surgical treatment for congenital deformities varies depending on the type and severity of the deformity, but may include tendon transfers, skin grafts, limb manipulation, external appliances or prosthetic devices to restore normal function and appearance to the hand. Physical therapy is often needed as well to ensure proper development of hand function.

Congenital Wrist/Elbow

Congenital conditions of the wrist and the elbow are rare. The exact cause of these types of conditions is unknown, although, in many instances, a genetic connection is suspected.


Amyoplasia is a congenital condition that affects the joints, including those in the the wrist and elbow. A form of arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, amyoplasia is a disorder that causes joints to contract, limiting their range of motion. As a result, muscles atrophy and are replaced by fat and fibrotic tissue. To improve quality of life, physical therapy, occupational therapy or orthopedic surgery may be recommended.


Benign Congenital Hypermobility

Benign congenital hypermobility affects the wrist or elbow. It is a condition in which ligaments, joint capsules and intervertebral discs are able to flex beyond the normal range of motion. Hypermobility sufferers are often unaware of joint position, so may move in ways that cause joint damage. Treatment may include wearing splints or braces, or performing strengthening exercises.

Congenital Dislocation of the Radial Head

Congenital dislocation of the radial head is the most common congenital abnormality in the elbow. The elbow joint comprises three bones: the humerus, ulna and radius. The radial head is the area of the radius that touches the humerus. When the radial head is dislocated, it may cause pain or limit range of motion in the elbow. Most cases do not require treatment, although surgery may be performed when pain is persistent or range of motion extremely limited, both of which occur rarely.