The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

My Bent Pinky Finger

I just had an EMG test done on my right arm; something my orthopedist ordered to get a sense of how bad my carpal tunnel is, and then assess options for treatment.

I hope the docs got what they needed from the test. The EMG test itself was an experience I hope never to repeat.

Don’t get me wrong. The doctors and technicians were completely professional, told me what the procedure would entail, and did everything they could to put me at ease. It’s just that getting repeated electric shocks that feel something like someone hitting your “funny bone” over and over again, then getting poked with a needle while being asked to move just isn’t my idea of a good time.

But there was an interesting complication. As she was preparing me for the first part of hte test, the technician asked me to straighten our my fingers. I did, except for the pinky finger. She asked me to straighten it, I had to explain that I was born with a permanently bent pinky finger.

Apparently, it’s hereditary. My mom has the same thing on her right hand, and her mom had it on both hands. WHat I didn’t know is that there’s a name for it. This guy’s post about his bent pinky finger led to the definition of clinodactyly, in which the pinky finger is bent towards the fourth or “ring” finger.

That’s not what I have, but that definition led me to another for camptodactyly.

Camptodactyly is a medical condition involving fixed flexion deformity of the interphalangeal joints of the little finger. This involves permanent flexure of one or more phalanges (fingers). Camptodactyly (OMIM 114200) is an autosomal dominant trait that is known for its incomplete expressivity as it can occur in both little fingers, one, or neither.

My mom said that when I was born the doctors told her they could straighten it, but that I might not be able to move it. She told them to leave it be, and it’s never given me any problems or stopped me from doing anything. So, good call on her part. Still, it means that every once in a while I have to explain to someone that my pinky finger is permanently bent, and that its a trait that runs in my family.

The only other issue with the EMG test was that they docs were getting a weird reading from my pinky finger, either because the electrodes didn’t adhere as well to a bent finger, because my hand was cold, or something else.

They actually soaked my hand in warm water for a while before continuing. It worked, and they got a better reading. But I had to go to the bathroom before we could continue. Does that mean the prank really works?

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