It is a rare congenital disease in which child born with underdeveloped or missing radius bond in arms since birth. Because of this wrist joint become unstable and twisted inwards. The severity of radial club hand depends on how much radius bone is missing ranges from complete absent to mild shortening. Sometimes absent radius associated with absent thumb on same side. This condition can affect a single or both hands of a child. Based on severity, radial club hand can be classified into four levels – types I, II, III, and IV. Timely treatment without delay gives acceptable results.
Radial club hand is caused due to underdeveloped or missing radius bone in forearm. The condition occurs during very early stages of pregnancy due to either teratogenic drugs, radiation exposure etc. It could be inherited in families. Sometimes it is associated with some specific health problems or syndromes related to heart, kidneys, or blood cells. So proper cardiac, hematological, kidney and other evaluation should be done.
Deformity is apparent since birth. Thumb on same side either hypoplastic or completely absent. Radial club hand changes the balance of muscles and nerves in a child’s hand. The condition sometimes makes specific muscles or nerves missing. Involved side forearm is short in length.
As deformity is apparent and one can easily see this with naked eye. A skill pediatric orthopedic surgeon will examine it thoroughly and will take opinion from cardiologist, nephrologists, pediatrician to check additional health problems associated with this.
Treatment starts initially non-surgically through stretches, splints, and similar therapeutic exercises. Serial plaster cast can be given before surgery. Surgery will help in making the ulna align with wrist to achieve more functional level.
The child has to perform stretching, splinting, and similar therapeutic exercises for a specific period of time, if the doctor decides to treat his radical club hand non-surgically. However, the orthopaedic must examine the child’s hand consistently to assess the effectiveness of the treatment plan. Timely surgical intervention is also important.