Macrodactyly is an uncommon birth defect in which toes or fingers are abnormally bigger due to overgrowth of underlying bone and soft tissue – particularly the nerves, fat and skin of the involved digit or digits. So what causes macrodactyly?
Scientists still do not know why macrodactyly in children happens, but information that is known about the condition shows that it does not result from the mother’s lifestyle or anything the mother did during her pregnancy.
Several ideas exist about the cause of macrodactyly. Some believe that the condition is due to an abnormal nerve supply to the affected digit while others blame an abnormality in the blood vessels and blood supply in the area.
Although neither theory have been proven, some evidence does suggest that nerves have some control over the growth of tissue.
Although it occurs at birth, macrodactyly is not an inherited condition. It can occur in association with neurofibromatosis and vascular malformations. Children with multiple echondromatosis, Maffuci syndrome and tuberous sclerosis can have enlarged digits.
Treatment also depend on whether the macrodactyly occurs in the hand or foot. For instance, if in the hand, the goal would be optimal function, and hand function can tolerate a digit with a certain degree of increased width and length. In the foot, however, even the slightest amount of enlarged width may make shoe wearing difficult.