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Inherited Disorders and Birth Defects

Webbed toes

11/16/2007

Question:

What conditions can cause babies to be born with webbed toes?

Answer:

Webbing of the toes (called syndactyly) is a very common finding which can be a normal variation or minor anomaly. Fingers can also have webbing. If the webbing only goes about a third of the way up between the toes, it is usually said be a variation of normal. If the webbing goes further than this – it is said to be a minor abnormality.

Syndactyly can be sporadic - that is, it happened just in one child in a family, is not inherited from either parent and geneticists do not know why it happened. It can also run in families – where a parent has syndactyly and can pass it on to any of his or her children. Finally, syndactyly can also be seen in many genetic disorders, but these children have multiple problems, not just syndactyly.

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Response by:

Anne   Matthews, RN, PhD Anne Matthews, RN, PhD
Associate Professor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University