Claw hand

Claw hand is a condition that causes curved or bent fingers. This makes the hand appear like the claw of an animal.

See also: Claw foot

Considerations

Claw hand can be something that someone is born with (congenital) or that they develop because of certain disorders, such as nerve injury.

Causes

  • Congenital abnormality
  • Nerve damage in the arm
  • Scarring after a severe burn of the hand or forearm

When to Contact a Medical Professional

If the condition is congenital, it is usually diagnosed at birth. If you notice claw hand developing, contact your health care provider.

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The health care provider will perform a physical examination. This examination may include extra attention to the hands and feet.

The health care provider will also ask for your medical history. Medical history questions may include:

  • Time pattern
    • When did you first notice the abnormal hand shape?
    • Is it getting worse?
  • Does it affect both hands?
  • Do other symptoms occur at the same time?

Your doctor may order other studies, such as electromyography (EMG), or nerve conduction studies to evaluate for nerve damage.

TREATMENT

Treatment depends on the cause of the deformity. It may include:

  • Splinting
  • Surgery to fix problems that may be contributing to the claw hand, such as nerve problems, tendon abnormalities, or scar tissue
  • Therapy to straighten the fingers