Claw hand

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A hand imitating an ulnar claw. The metacarpophalangeal joints of the 4th and 5th fingers are extended and the Interphalangeal joints of the same fingers are flexed.

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


Claw hand is a condition that causes curved or bent fingers. This makes the hand appear like the claw of an animal. Claw hand can be something that someone is born with (congenital) or that they develop because of certain disorders, such as nerve injury.


  • Congenital abnormality
  • Leprosy
  • Nerve damage in the arm
  • Scarring after a severe burn of the hand or forearm


The following tests may be performed:

  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Nerve conduction studies


Treatment depends on the cause. It may include:

  • Splinting
  • Surgery to fix problems that may be contributing to the claw hand, such as nerve problems, tendon abnormalities, or scar tissue
  • Therapy to straighten the fingers


Medline Plus [2]