Ulnar nerve palsy - claw hand; Ulnar nerve dysfunction - claw hand; Ulnar claw
Claw hand is a condition that causes curved or bent fingers. This makes the hand appear like the claw of an animal.
Someone can be born with claw hand (congenital), or they can develop it because of certain disorders, such as a nerve injury.
Causes may include:
If the condition is congenital, it is usually diagnosed at birth. If you notice claw hand developing, contact your health care provider.
Your provider will examine you and look closely at your hands and feet. You will be asked questions about your medical history and symptoms.
The following tests may be done to check for nerve damage:
Treatment depends on the cause. It may include:
Davis TRC. Tendon transfers for median, radial, and ulnar nerve palsy. In: Wolfe SW, Pederson WC, Kozin SH, Cohen MS. Green's Operative Hand Surgery. 68h ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 31.
Feldscher SB. Therapy management of tendon transfers. In: Skirven TM, Osterman AL, Fedorczyk JM, Amadio PC, Feldscher SB, Shin EK, eds. Rehabilitation of the Hand and Upper Extremity. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 44.
Sapienza A, Green S. Correction of the claw hand. Hand Clin. 2012;28(1):53-66. PMID: 22117924 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22117924/.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 9/20/2022
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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