Ask A Doctor - Clubbed Thumbs? - DesiMD Healthcare Services


Hello! I am a 21 year old female, and I wasn't completely sure about what doctor to ask about this. From what I understand, this is genetic. Clubbed thumbs. I have had them since I was born pretty much. I never did any thumb sucking or nail biting or anything! My background medically has also been pretty clear. I have a bad history with heart disease, but that is it for the most part. My question is, should I be concerned about them? I have never brought it up because I haven't had any problems with them thus far. I just want to know if they are a sign of anything dangerous and if so, what? It would also be nice to know if it could be caused by some other means, considering none of my family that is living has clubbed thumbs. Any information would be greatly appreciated! - Asked by J W on 03-Nov-2014 03:53:33

Answer Count: 2    

  • Internal Medicine

    Answered by Dr. Suneel Vallabhaneni on 03-Nov-2014 07:32:53

    Hi, clubbing usually of the nails/tip of the fingers is caused by diseases of the heart or lungs. Lung conditions like emphysema (usually occurs in smokers), bronchiectasis (wide spread infection of the airway passages), pneumonia or lymphoma of the lung can lead to clubbing. Heart conditions like heart failure or congenital heart diseases (heart diseases present from birth) also lead to clubbing. Single digit clubbing is rare and could be from near by vascular abnormality like shunting of blood from artery to the vein or aneurysm of the blood vessel or rarely a type of lung cancer called pan coast tumor. Given your history of heart condition, clubbing could be from that if it is also present on other fingers. But if it is present only in the thumb, talk to your doctor to see if work up like and ultrasound needs to be done for the hand/arm to look for any vascular abnormalities. Some times single digit clubbing can also be caused by local injury to that finger. Hope this helps.
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  • Answered by Dr. on 03-Nov-2014 15:36:38


    If you meant to ask about abnormal fusion of fingers (thumb) known as syndactyly then it is a congenital deformity. Usually, congenital defects of fingers is an indicator of congenital defects in heart. Echocardiogram is needed to rule out defects in heart in patients with congenital defects of hand. Usually these are caused by either radiation, infection or drugs during early pregnancy. I guess you need to get an echocardiogram done to rule out or identify heart condition (like atrial septal defect) if you have a genetic defect of finger.

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