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Alternative names

Arachnodactyly is a physical condition in which the fingers are long, slender, and curved, resembling a spider's legs.


Long, slender fingers can be a normal variation, not associated with any medical problems. However, in some cases, the tendency to develop spider fingers can indicate an underlying hereditary disorder.

Common Causes

  • normal finding
  • Marfan's syndrome
  • homocystinuria
  • spondylocostal dysostosis

Call your health care provider if

Some children are born with arachnodactyly, although it may develop over time. Consult with your health care provider during a routine examination if your child has long, slender fingers and you are concerned that an underlying condition may exist.

The medical history will be obtained and a physical examination performed.

Medical history questions documenting arachnodactyly in detail may include:

  • time pattern
    • When did you first notice the fingers being shaped like this?
  • family history
    • Is there any family history of early death?
    • Is there any family history of known hereditary disorders?
  • other
    • What other symptoms are also present?
    • Have you noticed any other unusual things?

The physical examination may include thorough inspection for other indications that a hereditary disorder may be present. Diagnostic tests are usually not necessary unless a hereditary disorder is suspected.

Update Date: 5/21/2002

Elizabeth Hait, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT