A congenital abnormality is referred to as a defect present from birth. Congenital limb disorder is a condition with abnormal limbs from birth. The limbs can be different in size, or have more toes or fingers than normal. Such abnormalities may result due to chromosome problem or from drugs taken by mother during pregnancy. The irregularities are, generally, visible or noticeable. A noticeable abnormality is usually diagnosed immediately through physical examination. Some other tests such as CT scan, x-rays, or medical imaging helps to view other structures in limb . It helps to detect any other limb defect.
The congenital limb can be treated with both non-surgical and surgical methods. In non-surgical method, supportive devices are used to replace limb function. The supportive device can be an artificial arm or leg, commonly called as prosthetic limb. It performs the same functions as a normal limb. In case of weak limbs, a splint or brace is provided to support the affected limb. In addition to devices, physical or occupational therapy is used. It consists of exercises which strengthens the affected limb.
In severe cases, surgery is opted. Surgery mainly consists of two methods- epiphysiodesis and femoral shortening. In epiphysiodesis, the normal growth of one of the limb is limited or controlled. As a result, after sometime, both the limbs attain equal length. On the other hand, femoral shortening aims to remove the femoral bone for providing equal limb size. In some people, limb lengthening is also done. This method makes use of an external device to lengthen the size of shorter limb.
All treatment procedures aim to achieve development and appearance of affected limb, All the instructions from the doctor should be carefully followed. Pressure or stress on the affected limb should be avoided. It can worsen the limb movement. Some risks are included in limb lengthening such as infection, enhanced abnormality, pain, and swelling.