Ulnar polydactyl (left) and radial polydactyl (right).

Do you know that famous Bollywood superstar Hritik Roshan has six fingers in one of his hand? Polydactyl is the terminology used to describe extra fingers and/or toes in human or animals. This is a fairly common condition and often runs in families. The extra finger may be located on the thumb side of the hand (radial), the small finger side of the hand (ulnar), or in the middle of the hand (central).

The extra fingers are usually smaller and abnormally developed. The extra finger can be comprised of skin and soft tissue connected to the hand by skin or can be a more fully formed finger with skeletal (bone) connections to the rest of the hand.

Etiology of polydactyl
During normal embryonic development, the hand initially forms in the shape of a paddle and then eventually splits into separate fingers. Polydactyl results when there is an error in this process and an extra finger forms after a single finger splits in two.

Research continues into further understanding why this happens. Many cases seem to occur without an apparent cause, while some may occur due to a genetic (inherited) defect. Polydactyl may also occur as a part of an underlying hereditary syndrome.

Treatment of polydactyl
Treatment of polydactyl can range from a simple day surgical procedure to remove the extra finger to a more complex procedure involving bone, ligament, and tendon.

While the treatment of polydactyl usually involves one surgical procedure, if your child undergoes a more invasive surgical procedure, an above-elbow cast may be necessary for three weeks and occupational therapy may be required to help manage scarring, stiffness, and swelling.

Follow-up visits may also be needed to ensure that healing has gone well and function has returned. In some cases, follow-up will continue for years to evaluate whether additional surgery is required to improve the function or appearance of the hand as your child grows.

Photograph of Runa who has seven toes
Runa's foot with seven fingers Generally, it has been seen that humans have only one extra finger or toe, it is very rare to have two extra fingers or toes. In other words, it is hard to find a person with seven fingers or toes, but 25 years old Runa Yu-Mei has seven toes in her left foot. Although, the seven toes makes her foot look very odd and creates problems while buying a foot wear, still these 2 extra toes have made Runa Yu-Mei celebrity in Vietnam and Singapore.

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