Polydactly (extra fingers) is one of the 10 most common pediatric orthopedic conditions, and this condition has been studied as early as the days of Charles Darwin, who suggested that the condition of having more than the usual number of fingers or toes (polydactyly) was an ancient trait, now mostly formant, that occasionally reappears due to some hereditary misstep.

Basically, there are three polydactyly variants:

A – most common is the variant featured with an extra pinky (see picture above)

B – less common is the variant featured with an extra thumb

C – rare is the variant featured with an extra index finger, middle finger or ring finger

 

A few (recent) reports about polydactyly:

 – UK: The story of a farther + son who were both born with 12 fingers and 12 toes

- INDIA: A 4-year old boy enjoys the attention for his extra fingers

- Bollywood moviestar Hrithik Roshan has 2 thumbs on his right hand

- Facebook has a brand new ‘polydactyly’ group!

Hrithik Roshan – the Bollywood moviestar – has a very unusual thumb, which was not easy at all at young age. But in time he learned to accept (and love) his abnormality; Roshan once described:

“I had this extra thumb…I stammered and in school – you know what kids are like – well, it was hell most of the time. My being quiet and sensitive came about as a consequence. I never felt normal. I always felt abnormal. I always felt I did not fit in.”

NOTE: On a technical level one can describe Roshan’s thumb as a combination of two abnormalities: polydactyly + syndactyly.

 

More impressions & info about Hrithik Roshan’s thumb are available at:

A Tribute to Hrithik Roshan’s thumb!

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PS. There are many more celebrities who have unusual hands; to mention a few:  Denzel Washington, Megan Fox & Thom Yorke.

Any parent would be eager to see that his/her baby is in healthy status when the child is born. They would count the fingers and toes of the baby. If the child does not have a perfect set of 10 fingers and 10 toes, that would usually upset them of the abnormality. Dr. Mohd Iskandar Mohd Amin, Consultant Orthopedic, Hand and Micro surgeon at Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur says that seven in 1,000 babies are born with congenital hand deformities worldwide.

Thirty percent of congenital hand deformities are caused by genetic abnormalities, while 10 percent are linked to environmental causes. The remaining 60 percent happens for no known reason.

Dr. Iskandar says that the most common type of congenital hand deformity is caused by developmental problems while the baby is in the womb.

The common types of deformities are:

- Syndactyly (failure of separation)

It has two categories – simple syndactyly (fusion of soft tissues between the two fingers) and complex syndactyly (fusion of soft tissues and bones of two fingers).

- Polydactyly (duplication of extra finger)

It has three categories – Type 1 (an extra finger is attached by the skin and nerves), Type 2 (the extra finger is attached to the bone or joint of the little finger) and Type 3 (a completely formed and functional extra finger attached to the hand).

- Brachydactyly (undergrowth)

The thumb of the fingers is usually small and underdeveloped. Some fingers may be missing.

- Macrodactyly (overgrowth)

The thumb, index finger or forearms are abnormally large due to overgrowth of bone and soft tissue.

- Constriction Band Syndrome

The fingers become malformed because of constriction by the fibrous bands of the amniotic sac which were entangled with the fetus’ fingers in the mother’s womb. Sometimes, the bones, muscles and tissues are joined together like a flower bud.

Dr. Iskandar mentions the irony is that the child often does not feel the hands are abnormal until he/she enters school and undergoes societal pressure. He adds that children being amazingly versatile are usually able to manage their daily life even with their deformed fingers or hands.

He explains; “the parents and the grandparents are the ones who are most distressed when they have children with congenital deformities. They wish to know whether it is hereditary and whether the siblings will have the same deformity.”Another anxiety is about whether the child will have normal function and it will be a cause for undergoing ridicule in later life.

Microsurgery for congenital hand deformities remains a highly specialized surgical or sub-specialty as the surgeon needs to have in-depth knowledge of orthopedics, neurology, plastic surgery and neurosurgery.Undergoing counseling by the parents and grandparents before the surgery is vital to better manage their expectations. It is also good to talk to support giving nurses and parents who are in similar circumstances to share their thoughts, fears and tears.

Dr. Iskandar says that usually surgery helps to improve the appearance of the hands, such as removing an extra thumb or pinky finger.He elaborates, “In some cases, surgery is done to enable the child functioning of the hand, for instance, when a child is having flower bud fingers needing a thumb and forefinger to manage buttons and zippers best. However, sometimes it is not possible to make a child’s hand ‘normal’, but he/she can function well with it, at least.”
In order to reduce physical and psychological scarring, usually surgery is performed within the first two years of the child’s life. It also enables new hand to function with full potential and for new growth and development.

Sometimes congenital hand deformities are a part of other conditions, i.e. Appert Syndrome, an underdeveloped face, nose and skull bone or Holt Cram Syndrome, often accompanied by congenital heart disease.In such situations, it is necessary to correct the other underlying problems first as they are life-threatening issues.

Source: The Nation

A mole has (only) 5 digits + a large sickle shaped sesamoid bone.

Vertebrates usually have five fingers on each hand, but in some specifies – including the Great Panda & the Mole – the hand ‘appears’ to be featured with an extra thumb (polydactly). Earlier this week paleontologists from the University of Zurich have uncovered a new theory about the underlying biological causes that are responsible for the mole’s extra thumb.

The researchers see a connection between the species-specific formation of the extra thumb in the mole and the peculiar “male” genital apparatus of female moles. In many mole species, the females have masculinized genitals and so-called “ovotestes,” i.e. gonads with testicular and ovary tissue instead of normal ovaries. Androgenic steroids are known to influence bone growth, transformation and changes, as well as the transformation of tendons in joints. A high level of maternal testosterone is also thought to be one of the causes of polydactyly in humans.


ABOUT SESAMOID BONES & EXTRA THUMBS! 

Anatomically, what ‘appears’ to be extra thumb that is seen in the Mole and the Giant Panda can be described as the result of excessive growth of the so-called sesamoid bones which are typically found in all vertebrates at the end of the thumb metacarpal.

NOTICE: Sesamoid bones are found in locations where a tendon passes over a joint.

In the human hand sesamoid bones are rather small and they act to protect the tendon and to increase its mechanical effect – so they play a key role in the multi-functionality of the human hand, see the picture below.

- Sesamoid bones in the human hand -

However, in some other vertebrate species sesamoid bones have a more explicite function for it’s owner.

E.g. in the mole’s paw the extra thumb is shaped by a sesamoid bone manifesting as a sickle shape which gives the mole a bigger surface for digging.

And in the Giant Panda’s paw the extra thumb is actually shaped by a radial sesamoid larger than the same bone in counterparts such as bears. It is primarily a bony support for the pad above it, allowing the panda’s other digits to grasp bamboo while eating it. 

The Giant Panda has 5 digits + a large sesamoid bone.

 
NOT A REAL FINGER!

These considerations implicate that Moles and Giant Pandas do not really have an extra finger. This is confirmed by the fact that their ‘appearance’ of an extra finger is not featured with other typical characteristics seen in the other fingers – e.g. a nail (claw) & phalanges are missing, and embryology studies have revealed that the extraordinary sesamoid bone in both the Mole and the Panda starts developming at a much later stage compared to the 5 digits that are typically seen in every vertebrate!


MORE ABOUT THE HANDS IN VERTEBRATES:

The mystery of the five fingers

The 15 fingers + 16 toes of a Chinese boy!

Last year (2010) another report was made about an unnamed 6-year-old Chinese boy who had 16 toes and 15 fingers.

The boy had unprecented 31 digits, which included 15 fingers and 16 toes! But I am not sure that it would have been recognized as a world record because obviously in the fingers there is ‘syndactly’ involved, which implicates that not all fingers would have been counted – just like in the case of Heramb Ashok Kumthekar:

Anyway, the Chinese boy’s family did not go to apply for a Guinness World Record, rather sent him to Shengjing Hospital affiliated with China Medical University in Shenyang recently to undergo a surgery to remove the extras because he suffered from the inconvenience in the daily life and also being ridiculed from peers of the same age at his school. So appearantly the parents made a very sensible decision.

Participate in the discussion about these RECORD fingers & toes:
http://www.modernhandreadingforum.com/t605-girl-from-myanmar-burma-has-12-fingers-14-toes-a-brand-new-guinness-world-record

 Almost two years ago, we reported the case of Heramb Ashok Kumthekar, a Marketing student from India who has 12 fingers + 14 toes. While the current ‘polydactyly‘ Guinness World Record of having 25 fingers & toes is still in the hands of a boy named Devendra Harne & a girl named Pranamya Menaria – who are both living in India, Kumthekar’s case was not officially recognized because some of his fingers were webbed (syndactyly). But earlier this week a new case of 26 fingers & toes was reported in Myanmar (former Burma).

YANGON, Myanmar — A 16-month-old girl has been recognized as the world record holder for total fingers and toes – 26!

Le Yati Min was born with 12 fingers and 14 toes. Her family has already coined and copyrighted the phrase, “Give me a high-six!” in both Burmese and English.

A neighbor and friend of the family spoke to reporters outside the girl’s small wooden home, “She already counts higher than all the other kids. She got lucky, I guess. We’re just waiting to see what she can do with a typewriter. We’re guessing she’ll be up to 90 or 100 words per minute by the time she’s five, I mean, six.”

Her mother, Phyo Min Min Soe, also told reporters that Le has not been bothered by the extra digits and has “a good grip on things.”

A neighbor and friend of the family spoke to reporters outside the girl’s small wooden home, “She already counts higher than all the other kids. She got lucky, I guess. We’re just waiting to see what she can do with a typewriter. We’re guessing she’ll be up to 90 or 100 words per minute by the time she’s five, I mean, six.”

Her mother, Phyo Min Min Soe, also told reporters that Le has not been bothered by the extra digits and has “a good grip on things.”

Hrithik Roshan is not afraid to show his unusual double thumb.

Hrithik Roshan - the Bollywood actor has a double thumb!

On january 22, 2011 Madame Tussauds (London) presented it’s very first celebrity who has an inborn hand condition: the Indian Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan has a double thumb on his right hand. In medical science this hand abnormality is known as: ‘polydactyly’.

Hrithik Roshan became the fifth Bollywood star to have his wax statue unveiled at the world-famous Madame Tussauds museum in London. Hrithik Roshan spoke during an interview in London, January 20, 2011 after he unveiled his wax double at Madame Tussauds museum there – see the video below (including impressions of his extra thumb).

Just like Megan Fox’s clubbed thumb, Roshan’s double thumb has never really been a handicap for his acting career.

  A photo tribute to Hrithik Roshan’s double thumb
  Modern hand reading: the hands of Hrithik Roshan

 

Chinese girl has six identical fingers on one hand!

 Xiao Qian – a 4-year-old girl from China (Wuhan, Hubei province) – has five fingers on her left hand and six fingers on her right hand – see photo.

At Pu’ai Hospital, Doctor Xin Danmo operates on Qian, removing her left-most finger and attempts to fashion the end finger into a thumb.

The cause of the extra finger (polydactyly) is attributed to radiation or chemical exposure to the mother during pregnancy.

But why remove the extra finger? The child at the very least could be used to sell rings, type, pick things up and play the recorder. Will she thank her parents when she’s older?

But bigger than any of that, Qian is a sign that the rush to do way with imperial measures, the adoption of the metric system – because the French mostly have ten fingers – is hasty.

Anorak News suggests:

“We say stick another finger on Qian’s left hand and make her patron saint of the Metric martyrs. We march on Paris – on our hands!”

What advice would Hrithik Roshan (the famous Bollywood actor who’s double thumb was presented last month at Madame Tussauds) provide the partents of this girl…?

MORE STORIES ABOUT UNUSUAL FINGERS:
  The Five Digits News

Hrithik Roshan's double thumb on his right hand.

Another Megan Fox thumb of her right thumb!Megan Fox has a clubbed thumb (BDD = brachydactyly - type D).Another Megan Fox thumb of her 'toe thumb'!
Megan Fox has clubbed thumbs!

In the summer of 2009 Megan Fox’s right thumb became news after new photos of her indicated that the beauty has a rather misshapen thumb – as compared to the ‘natural’ thumb standard that is seen everywhere in the world. What do we know about this rather remarkable type of thumb?

Having your thumb in the form of a club, which is called brachydactyly – type D (BDD), which is a minor affliction that can be found in 1 out of every 1,000 people. Local hand surgeons know everything about it there is to know.

More Megan Fox thumbs: impressions of Megan’s club thumb:

Megan Fox has a clubbed thumb (BDD = brachydactyly - type D).

Another Megan Fox thumb of her right thumb!

Another Megan Fox thumb of her 'toe thumb'!

MORE FAMOUS & SEXY THUMBS -

Dr. Steven Bendner, the leading hand surgery expert at Beth Israel Medical Center, explains that the case of the thumb that looks a bit flattened and therefore shorter, is often a peculiarity that comes down in the family:

“The nail of the thumb in this condition is often very short and wide. It is usually hereditary, although it could also have been caused by frostbite, or it could have been an injury to the growth plate in childhood. While one is young, the thumb often looks more or less ordinary, but with the passing of time its shortened condition begins to stand out more and more.”

So, contrary to ‘fingernail clubbing‘, a clubbed thumb is usually nothing to worry about!

Dr. Richard Kim, director of congenital hand surgery at Hackensack Medical Center, warns us not to play down the importance of the thumb.:

“You need it to be able to touch the other fingers and it is important for pinching. In Megan Fox’s case, it appears that only the last bone of the thumb is affected and that it does not involve the joint. For her, it looks like it’s just a cosmetic deficit.”

Why this story about the Megan Fox thumb? Hopefully, knowing about Megan Fox’s little imperfection will help other people to realize that – when not overplayed by the owner – a small cosmetic defect might only add to the charms of a person. Now, maybe you would like to hear more about the ‘double thumb’ (in his case a combination of ‘polydactyly‘ & ‘syndactyly‘) of the famous Indian Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan???

SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER READING:
An ‘Ode to the thumb’ – by French sculptor César Baldaccini!
Fingernail clubbing might signal various medical problems!
Join the brachydactyly type D Facebook club!
The world of clubbed thumbs

Indian Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan has a double thumb – his right thumb might be the weirdest thumb that you ever saw!:

The famous Indian Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan has a double thumb, an example of syndactyly.

12 Fingers & 14 toes: a new Guinness World Record?Last year various sources around the world reported that Heramb Ashok Kumthekar, a 22 year old marketing student from Pune was born with 12 fingers and 14 toes. The current Guinness World Record holder for having the most fingers and toes in the world is an Indian young boy named Devendra Harne: he has only 12 fingers and 13 toes. However, the student from Pune is not able to claim a new record.

Heramb’s extra digits are caused by the medical condition called ‘polydactly‘, which translates from the Greek for “many fingers”. However, even though his hands have separate bones, technically some of his fingers are attached – this condition is called ‘syndactyly‘.Heramb Ashok Kumthekar says:

“I am happy about it because I have something that others don’t have. I never had a problem with it and after I get publicity I will be famous because of it.”
The congenital condition of having extra fingers occurs in one in every 500 births. Famous holders of extra digits include the beheaded ex-wife of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn (who was rumoured to have an extra finger on her left hand), the Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan (one of Indian cinema’s rising stars has one extra digit on each hand), and recently the new James Bond Girl Gemma Arterton admitted that she was born with 6 fingers on each hand (an extra pinky finger).

 

Heramb Ashok Kumthekar has 14 toes.