Claw fingers, clawed hand: what is this, causes, symptoms, diagnostics, treatment, prevention

Claw hand; Ulnar nerve palsyclaw hand; Ulnar nerve dysfunctionclaw hand; Ulnar claw

Claw fingers, also known as "Holt-Oram Syndrome", represents a state, in which the fingers are abnormally twisted and bent towards the palm, resembling claws. The deformity affects hand function and can lead to difficulty performing daily activities., such as a letter, eating or even shaking hands.

Causes of claw fingers

Clawed hand can be caused by various factors, including damage to the nerves or muscles of the hand, congenital anomalies and certain diseases, such as:

  • Trauma. A clawed hand can be caused by damage to the nerves or muscles of the hand., leading to muscle weakness and loss of finger control.
  • Congenital anomalies. Some people may be born with a genetic predisposition to develop a claw hand., often as a result of congenital anomalies, affecting the bones, nerves or muscles of the hand.
  • Medical disorders. A clawed hand can also be a symptom of underlying medical conditions., such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.

Symptoms of claw fingers

The most obvious symptom of a claw hand is deformity of the fingers., that appear twisted and bent towards the palm. Other symptoms may include:

  • Weakness or loss of muscle control in the fingers
  • Pain and discomfort in the affected arm
  • Difficulty performing daily activities, such as writing or eating
  • Stiffness and reduced range of motion in the affected arm

When to contact a healthcare professional

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a claw hand, it is important to seek medical attention. This is particularly important, if the deformity is accompanied by pain or discomfort, or if you experience weakness or loss of muscle control in the affected arm.

Questions, that your doctor may ask

When visiting a doctor for the treatment of a claw-like brush, he, probably, ask a series of questions, to help diagnose the underlying cause of the disease. Some of the questions, that your doctor may ask, include:

  • When did you first notice the deformity of your hand??
  • Have you experienced pain or discomfort in the affected arm?
  • Have you noticed any weakness or loss of muscle control in the affected arm?
  • You have recently injured your hand?
  • Do you have any comorbidities, which may contribute to the deformity of your hand?

Diagnosis of the claw hand

Diagnosis of a claw hand begins with a physical examination of the affected hand., during which the doctor will examine the fingers and assess their range of motion. In some cases, additional tests may be needed to determine the underlying cause of the condition, including:

  • Roentgen – to determine, are there any abnormalities in the bones of the hand
  • Nerve conduction studies – to determine, is there any nerve damage, affecting the hand.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRT) – to assess the condition of the muscles and nerves in the hand

Treatment of claw fingers

Treatment for a clawed hand will depend on the underlying cause of the condition.. In some cases, surgery may be required to correct the deformity and restore hand function.. Other treatments may include:

  • Physiotherapy. Physical therapy can help strengthen the muscles in the affected arm and improve range of motion..
  • Occupational therapy. Occupational therapy can help teach people how to do daily activities with their affected hand, as well as find ways to adapt to deformation.
  • Fixation. Brace may be recommended, to help maintain finger position and prevent further deformity.
  • Medicines. In some cases, medications may be prescribed to relieve pain and inflammation in the affected arm..
  • Injections. Corticosteroid injections may be used to reduce inflammation and swelling of the affected arm..
  • Operation. Surgery may be recommended for people with a claw hand, caused by nerve or muscle damage. The specific type of surgery will depend on the underlying cause of the condition and the severity of the deformity..

Treatment of claw fingers at home

In addition to seeking medical attention, people with claw hand can also manage their symptoms at home with the following measures:

  • Exercises. Regular exercise, such as stretching and strengthening exercises, may help improve the strength and flexibility of the affected arm.
  • Hot and cold therapy. Applying hot and cold therapy can help reduce pain and swelling in the affected arm..
  • Massage. Massaging the affected arm can help improve circulation and reduce muscle tension..
  • Adaptive Devices. Using Adaptive Devices, such as gripping aids or ergonomic tools, can facilitate the daily activities of people with a claw-like hand.

Prevention of claw fingers

In some cases, claw hand can be prevented, taking steps to protect the hand from injury. This may include:

  • Wearing protective gear during activities, that pose a risk of hand injury, such as sports or manual work.
  • Maintain good posture and use proper lifting and carrying techniques for heavy objects, to prevent stress on the hand and wrist.
  • Practice good hand hygiene, to prevent infection, which can cause damage to muscles or nerves.

In conclusion, clawed hand – This State, characterized by deformity of the fingers, that appear twisted and bent towards the palm. The condition can be caused by various factors, including injuries, congenital anomalies and diseases.

Treatment for a clawed hand may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, fixation, medicines, injections or surgery. In addition to seeking medical attention, people with claw hand can also manage their symptoms at home with exercise., hot and cold therapy, massage and adaptive devices.

Taking steps to prevent injury to the hand and seeking emergency medical attention for symptoms, people with a claw hand can improve their quality of life and preserve the function of the affected hand.

Used sources and literature

Davis TRC. Tendon transfers for median, radial, and ulnar nerve palsy. In: Wolfe SW, Pederson WC, Kozin SH, Cohen MS. Green’s Operative Hand Surgery. 68h ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 31.

Feldscher SB. Therapy management of tendon transfers. In: Skirven TM, Osterman AL, Fedorczyk JM, PC cabinet, Feldscher SB, Shin Ek, eds. Rehabilitation of the Hand and Upper Extremity. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 44.

Sapienza A, Green S. Correction of the claw hand. Hand Clin. 2012;28(1):53-66. PMID: 22117924

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