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Home |  Blog |  Polydactyly Common, Treatable & Famous

Polydactyly Common, Treatable & Famous

I do not mean to pry, but you don’t by any chance happen to have six fingers on your right hand?” Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride.

The swashbuckling character Inigo Montoya in the princess bride made the possibility of a six fingered person famous. In real life having too many digits on a foot or hand is a condition called polydactyly and the people who have it aren’t villains like the one portrayed in the movie. The condition is a congenital physical anomaly that not only affects humans but can actually be seen in dogs and cats as well. Thankfully the condition is usually very treatable and fairly rare, though still considered one of the more common anomalies that can affect the hands or feet.

What Polydactylism Of The Hand Looks Like

Polydactylism of the hands most commonly appears as a small finger on the side of the hand called ulnar polydactyly. Fewer people may experience radial polydactyly which is an extra thumb. Most rarely a finger appears in the middle of the hand which is known as central polydactyly.  The extra digit is not always a fully articulated joint it can also appear as just skin and soft tissue or also include a bone but no joint. The most common type of polydactylism is just the skin and tissue and the least common is a finger that functions almost completely normally.

Polydactyly is Fairly Common & Very Treatable

About one in 500 people in the United States are affected by polydactyly, with it affecting both males and females at almost the same rate. People of Asian and Caucasian decent are more likely to have radial polydactyly. Ulnar polydactylism is more common in people of African decent. The good news is it is usually easily treated. Surgery is almost always how polydactylism is treated, though it can range from minor outpatient surgery to a more complex surgery that requires physical therapy and time to recover from.  Removal of a polydactyl joint usually occurs after a child is one year old to ensure there is minimal problems with any anesthesia that needs to be used.

Polydactyl People Are In Good Company

Through the years many famous people have been born polydactyl. Antonio Alfonseca, a major league baseball player, and Hound Dog Taylor, a blues musician both were born with a polydactyl fingers. The most notable celebrity with polydactylism is Gemma Arterton, a Hollywood actress that has been the female lead in many movies and was even “Bond girl” in a James bond movie.

Finding Great Polydactylism Treatment

While polydactylism is not usually a life threatening condition, most parents want the condition treated to allow their child to live as normal a life as possible. In the Chicago area you best choice for getting treatment for polydactylism are the doctors at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute. The pediatric orthopedic doctors at IBJI have decades of experience treating Polydactyl patients. Make an appointment today to find out why you won’t find better treatment for polydactylism.

This information is not intended to provide advise or treatment for a specific situation. Consult your physician and medical team for information and treatment plans on your specific condition(s).