We are all born different and unique. People have different hair, eyes, and an overall unique genetic make-up. Being different is what makes us who we are, so we may as well embrace it, right? We are not perfect, as we all have our own quirks and problems that we are born with, or develop overtime.
In human physiology, there is something called digit malformation. Digit malformation is categorized as various genetic abnormalities, some resulting in having more digits (fingers or toes) than normal, or some where the fingers or toes are abnormally short. These findings of genetic disorders are quite unique.
Discovery of patients with these abnormalities usually take physical examination, imaging studies, and lab tests to help make an accurate diagnosis. However, as we grow, the structure of our bones in the hands and feet (metacarpals and metatarsals, or the phalangeal units) are constantly changing, which makes it more difficult to sometimes identify these puzzling conditions.
What is Brachydactyly?
Brachydactyly is described as a hereditary condition which causes an abnormal shortening of the bones in the hands or feet, or both. This genetic abnormality causes the fingers and toes to be and appear disproportionately smaller. Brachydactyly is a condition with a variety of different types, which depends on which bones are shortened. It may occur as a singular malformation, or be associated with other conditions such as syndactyly (webbed fingers).
The signs of brachydactyly are usually present at birth, but it’s possible that shortened limbs become more obvious as someone grows and develops. The main symptom of brachydactyly is fingers, toes, or both that are shorter than normal.
The shortened fingers and toes of brachydactyly may cause you to have difficulty with grip. If the brachydactyly is severe in the feet, you may have trouble walking. Although, unless there is another condition associated with the brachydactyly, a person should not feel any pain or have any other symptoms associated with it. In other words, unless there is another disorder accompanied with brachydactyly that produces a host of symptoms, or it hinders someone’s ability to use their hands and feet, then treatment is not typically needed. Depending on the person, and their type of brachydactyly, surgery can be used to treat it, or it can be used electively for cosmetic reasons.
Genetic disorders can be hard to identify, and it can be possible that your brachydactyly is symptomatic of another genetic syndrome, such as Down Syndrome, but this is often rare. Talking to your doctor in order to get an accurate diagnosis is of upmost importance.
If you would like to learn more about Brachydactyly and other genetic conditions, call the office of Dr. Stelnicki at (954) 983-1899, or request an appointment online.