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Arachnodactyly

Definition:

Arachnodactyly is a condition in which the fingers are long, slender, and curved. They look like a spider's legs.



Alternative Names:

Dolichostenomelia (refers to a long, slender body, not just fingers); Spider fingers; Achromacria



Considerations:

Long, slender fingers can be normal and not associated with any medical problems. In some cases, however, "spider fingers" can be a sign of an underlying disease.



Causes:

Note: Having long, slender fingers may be normal.



When to Contact a Medical Professional:

Some children are born with arachnodactyly, although it may develop over time. Consult with your health care provider during a routine examination if your child has long, slender fingers and you are concerned that an underlying condition may exist.



What to Expect at Your Office Visit:

The health care provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about the person's medical history, including:

  • Time pattern: When did you first notice the fingers being shaped like this?
  • Family history: Is there any family history of early death? Is there any family history of known hereditary disorders?
  • Symptoms: What other symptoms are also present? Have you noticed any other unusual things?

Diagnostic tests are usually not necessary unless a hereditary disorder is suspected.




Review Date: 1/31/2014
Reviewed By: Kimberly G Lee, MD, MSc, IBCLC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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