Rare Ophthalmology News

Disease Profile

Windblown hand

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.


US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset





Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Congenital ulnar drift; Windswept hand; Congenital contractures of the digits


Windblown hand is a hand deformity that is present from birth. The cause of this deformity is unknown. People with windblown hand have flexion contractures of the joints at the base of each finger that prevents normal mobility of their hand and causes their fingers to bend toward their "little" finger (i.e., ulnar drift). In addition, windblown hand is characterized by a "thumb-in-palm deformity" or "clasped thumb" where the thumb is webbed to the palm by a soft tissue bridge.[1]

Click here to view the anatomy of the hand provided by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.


The cause of windblown hand is unknown.[2] It is thought that windblown hand may represent a variation of some type of arthrogryposis.[1] Arthrogryposis is a very large and varied group of disorders that have the common feature of multiple congenital joint contractures.


Treatment of windblown hand may involve surgical correction and reconstruction. Because windblown hand has many variations, each patient must be treated individually.[1] We recommend speaking with a healthcare provider to discuss your treatment options. In addition, it may be helpful to set up a consultation with a hand surgeon. The following tool can help you locate a hand surgeon in your area.

American Society for Surgery of Hand
Find-A-Hand Surgeon: https://www.assh.org/Public/Pages/HandSurgeons.aspx

In addition, because windblown hand is thought to possibly be a variant form of arthrogryposis you may find the following Web page with links to help you locate arthrogryposis specialists and specialty centers to be helpful.

A National Support group for Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita (AVENUES)


Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

Organizations Supporting this Disease

    Social Networking Websites

    • RareConnect is an online social network for patients and families to connect with one another and share their experience living with a rare disease. The project is a joint collaboration between EURORDIS (European Rare Disease Organisation) and NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders). Click on the link above to view the community for limb differences.

      Learn more

      These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

      Where to Start

      • The American Society for Surgery of the Hand provides information on congenital differences of the hand. Click on American Society for Surgery of the Hand to view the information page.
      • The Children’s Hospital Boston has a information page on congenital limb defects. Click on the link above to view this information page.
      • More information on limb abnormalities can be found at the following link from MedlinePlus, the National Library of Medicine Web site designed to help you research your health questions.

        In-Depth Information

        • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Windblown hand. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


          1. Wood VE, Biondi J. Treatment of the windblown hand. J Hand Surg [Am]. 1990;
          2. Grunert J, Jakubietz M, Polykandriotis E, Langer M. The windblown hand Diagnosis, clinical picture and pathogenesis. Handchir Mikrochir Plast Chir. 2004;

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