Camptodactyly, literally "bent finger", is a flexion deformity at the proximal interphalangeal joint, especially affecting the little fingers. A distinction is sometimes drawn between camptodactyly and streblodactyly: in the latter, several fingers are affected by flexion contractures (streblo = twisted, crooked), but it is not clear whether the two conditions overlap or are separate. The term streblomicrodactyly has sometimes been used to designate isolated crooked little fingers. Camptodactyly is not accompanied by any sensory or motor signs. Although some papers report camptodactyly to be usually unilateral, of 27 cases seen by the author in general neurology outpatient clinics over a 5 year period (2000-2004), most (24) referred for reasons other than finger deformity, 20 had bilateral changes, albeit asymmetric in some. The condition may be familial: in the author’s series, other family members were affected by report or by examination in 11 out of 26 families represented. The condition is commoner in women (M:F = 9:18). X-linked dominant transmission has been suggested but there are occasional reports of father-to-child transmission. Camptodactyly may occur as part of a developmental disorder with other dysmorphic features or, as in all the cases observed by the author, in isolation.

It is important to differentiate camptodactyly, a nonneurogenic cause of clawing, from neurological diagnoses, such as:

  • Ulnar neuropathy
  • C8/T1 radiculopathy
  • Cervical rib
  • Syringomyelia

Awareness of the condition is important to avoid unnecessary neurological investigation.



Larner AJ. Camptodactyly in a neurology outpatient clinic.
International Journal of Clinical Practice 2001; 55: 592-595


Cross References

Claw hand