Test Your Finger Length to See What the Future Holds
Fingers and toes: We all have them. But did you know that the length of your fingers can say a lot about you and your future?
First a little anatomy lesson: Normally, humans have 5 fingers on each hand. The first digit is the thumb, next is the index, third is the middle, fourth is the ring, and fifth is often called the pinky. While most of us have five fingers on each hand, some people – including Henry VIII’s second wife Anne Boleyn, have extra digits. The medical term for this is “polydactylism.”
Black children are ten times more likely to be born with extra fingers compared to white children. White children, on the other hand, are four times more likely to be born with webbed fingers compared to black children.
Most of us know that everyone has a unique set of fingerprints. But did you also know that the tips of the fingers possess the highest concentration of touch receptors and thermoreceptors (heat sensing) compared to any other area of human skin? Fingertips are extremely sensitive to temperature, texture, moisture, pressure and vibration. The most sensitive finger of them all is the index finger.
In general, women tend to have longer index fingers and men tend to have longer ring fingers. University of Alberta neuroscientist Pete Hurd explains that boy babies experience a surge in testosterone in mid-second trimester that usually makes their ring fingers longer than their index finger. The higher the testosterone, the greater the length of the finger and the more “masculine” the child will be – whether male or female.
Lesbians have a greater length difference on their ring fingers and index fingers compared to straight women. Similarly, gay men have a greater difference in those two fingers than straight men.
Out of all of the fingers, the length of the ring finger appears to tell us the most about a person. For example, some research has found that men with longer ring fingers are often more successful. A City of London study found that male traders with the longest ring fingers earned up to six times as much as their colleagues.
Children who have longer ring fingers appear to perform better in number-based subjects such as mathematics and physics. Long ring fingers may also be a sign of athletic ability. One study found that top sprinters tend to have long ring fingers.
Speaking of the ring finger, did you know that the wedding ring is traditionally placed on the left ring finger because the vein in that finger (the venna amoris or “vein of love”) was believed to be directly connected to the heart?
Fingernails are also an interesting part of the finger that can tell you about a person. Fingernails are structurally modified hairs and grow about one-tenth of an inch per month. You may have already noticed, but fingernails do grow faster – about 4 times faster - than toenails. The longest fingers tend to have the fastest growing nails.
The myth that hair and fingernails continue to grow after death is false. These body parts tend to appear to grow after a person has died because the skin dehydrates and pulls back from the nail beds and scalp, but they do not actually grow after death.
On your fingernails, look for these signs of serious conditions and bring them to the attention of your doctor if you have them:
• Nail pitting: Small depressions in the nails could be due to psoriasis, connective tissue disorder (such as Reiter’s syndrome) or alopecia areata, an autoimmune disorder that causes hair loss.
• Nail clubbing: This occurs when the tips of the fingers enlarge and the nails curve around the finger tips. This is sometimes the result of low oxygen in the blood and could be associated with various types of lung disease, inflammatory bowel disease, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, and AIDS.
• Spoon nails (koilonychias): Soft nails that look scooped out could be a sign of iron deficiency anemia or a liver condition known as hemochromatosis. Spoon nails could also be a sign of heart disease or hypothyroidism.
• Terry’s nails: A condition where the tip of each nail has a dark band, sometimes contributed to aging. But it could be a sign of a serious underlying condition such as liver disease, congestive heart failure, or diabetes.
• Beau’s lines: Indentations that run across the nails could be associated with uncontrolled diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or a sign of zinc deficiency. These lines could also be associated with an illness characterized with fever such as scarlet fever, measles, mumps, or pneumonia.
• Nail separation: A condition known as onycholysis, this occurs when the fingernails become loose and separate from the nail bed. Sometimes this is due to an injury or infection, but could be related to a drug reaction, a consumer product reaction, or a disease such as thyroid disease or psoriasis.
• Yellow Nail Syndrome: With this condition, nails thicken and new growth slows, resulting in a yellowish discoloration. This is often a sign of respiratory disease, such as chronic bronchitis, or related to swelling of the hands (lymphedema).
Professor John T Manning, “Digit Ratio”, 2002,
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