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What is Syndactyly? Webbed Fingers or Webbed Toes

Syndactyly is a condition in which a child’s fingers or toes do not fully separate during development, thus causing “webbed” spaces between the digits. Syndactyly is the most common congenital disorder of the limbs and occurs in approximately one of every 2,000-3,000 live births. Typically, this condition is inherited, but it can also be unassociated with any genetic cause. Most children who are born with webbed fingers and/or webbed toes have no other health problems. However, this condition is frequently associated with other syndromes, such as Apert syndrome and Down syndrome.

Classifications

Syndactyly most commonly affects the middle and ring fingers, but it can involve the webbing of any two or more fingers and toes. No matter what digits are affected, this condition is classified as being either:

  • Simple – When syndactyly is referred to as simple, it means that only skin is shared between the affected digits.
  • Complex – When syndactyly is characterized as complex, it means that the affected digits share bone, nerves, tendons, blood vessels, and/or other tissues, as well as skin.

Treatment Options 

Webbed fingers and/or webbed toes are most frequently treated through surgery. Skin grafts are also usually necessary as there may be insufficient skin to provide cover for multiple fingers or toes. Post operatively, especially in complex cases, physical therapy and casting and/or splinting is usually recommended to help maximize the function of the affected digits.

Tampa General Hospital’s Children's Medical Center provides comprehensive, qualified treatment to children born with syndactyly, as well as other pediatric orthopedic conditions. To best serve our pediatric patients, we have a team of orthopedic surgeons, specialists, and physical therapists who work primarily with children, using their extensive experience and our hospital’s advanced equipment to provide the best treatment possible to our youngest patients.

If you would like to find a pediatric orthopedic surgeon to treat syndactyly, click here to use our Physician Finder.