What could be the cause and treatment for shortening of fingers?

Symptom Database

Short fingers, also known as finger shortening or finger length discrepancy, can be a source of concern for many individuals. Whether it is due to a congenital condition or an acquired injury, the shortening of fingers can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life and self-esteem. In this article, we will explore the possible causes of short fingers and discuss the available treatment options.

Causes of Short Fingers

Short fingers can be caused by various factors, including:

  • Genetics: Some individuals may be born with naturally shorter fingers due to their genetic makeup.
  • Injury: Trauma to the fingers, such as fractures or dislocations, can lead to finger shortening.
  • Arthritis: Certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can cause joint deformities and result in finger shortening.
  • Developmental abnormalities: In some cases, finger shortening may be a result of developmental abnormalities during fetal development.

Treatment Options for Short Fingers

While finger shortening can be a challenging condition to deal with, there are treatment options available to help improve finger length and function. The choice of treatment depends on the underlying cause and severity of the condition.

Finger Lengthening Techniques

Finger lengthening techniques are commonly used to address finger shortening. These procedures aim to increase the length of the affected finger by either stretching the soft tissues or bone lengthening.

Finger Lengthening Surgery

Finger lengthening surgery is a more invasive option that involves surgical intervention to lengthen the affected finger. This procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia and may require a hospital stay.

During the surgery, the surgeon may use various techniques to lengthen the finger, such as:

  • Soft tissue release: This involves releasing tight or contracted soft tissues around the finger joint to allow for increased length.
  • Bone grafting: In cases where bone lengthening is required, bone grafts may be used to extend the finger.
  • External fixation: External devices, such as pins or frames, may be attached to the finger to gradually lengthen it over time.

Finger Length Reduction

In some cases, finger shortening may be addressed through finger length reduction procedures. These procedures involve removing a portion of the finger bone to achieve a more proportionate finger length.

Recovery and Rehabilitation

Following finger lengthening or reduction procedures, a period of recovery and rehabilitation is necessary to optimize outcomes. This may involve:

  • Immobilization: The finger may be placed in a splint or cast to protect it during the initial healing phase.
  • Physical therapy: Rehabilitation exercises and stretches may be prescribed to improve finger strength, flexibility, and range of motion.
  • Follow-up appointments: Regular follow-up appointments with the surgeon are essential to monitor healing progress and address any concerns or complications.


Short fingers can be a source of physical and emotional discomfort for individuals. However, with advancements in medical technology and surgical techniques, there are treatment options available to address finger shortening. Whether it is through finger lengthening or reduction procedures, individuals can regain function and improve their quality of life. If you are experiencing finger shortening, it is important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional who can assess your condition and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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