By Joseph Stuto, DPM
September 20, 2017
Tags: polydactyly  

The saying, “Ten tiny fingers, ten tiny toes, gorgeous eyes, button nose” is a phrase many of us have heard when expecting a child for the first time. Expecting a baby is both exciting and nerve racking. As a parent you worry about everything when it comes to your little bundle. Which car seat is the best? Which hospital should we use? Will they be healthy? These are all normal thoughts and fears. A general rule of thumb is that if baby enters the world with all the appropriate organs and extremities then they are healthy. What happens when they enter the world with extra digits?

When a child or person has an extra toe, it is known as polydactyly. This deformity usually occurs in about 3 to 13 cases out of every 1,000 live births of those of African American descent and 1 case per every 1,000 live births in the Caucasian population. Polydactyly is not known to be more dominant in any particular gender.


The primary cause of polydactyly is thought to be due to genetics. Somewhere a chromosome is passed down from the mother or father to the infant. This chromosome triggers the growth of the extra toe. This could be due to a hereditary genetic mutation from a prior relative’s past.

Extra toes occur on the border toes of the foot. The big toe and the baby toe are more likely to sprout an extra toe than those toes that hang out in the middle of the foot. Sometimes an entire extra toe is grown onto a baby. These toes have a vascular structure, a nail, bones, and tendons just like any other toe on the foot. Sometimes the extra toe does not form all the way. Sometimes only a small nub appears at the ends of the border toes.


Usually surgery is required to remove the extra toe. This surgery is often complex and should be done by a trained podiatrist who also specializes in foot surgery. Surgery can occur any time after 6 months of age when the child is more likely to handle anesthesia properly.

Do you have a child that has an extra toe? Thinking about getting it removed but do not know where to go? Joseph Stuto, DPM located in Brooklyn, New York has the right podiatrists and resources for you and your child. Dr. Joseph A. Stuto and Dr. Joseph C. Stuto are both highly trained podiatrists who can properly assist you in making educated decisions about your child’s foot health. Call 718-624-7537 or make an appointment online today.