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Dupuytren’s Contractures

Home » Conditions » Dupuytren’s Contractures

Dupuytren’s Contractures

Restoring Dexterity, Improving Strength

Dupuytren’s contracture is a hand deformity that usually develops over years. The condition affects a layer of tissue that lies under the skin of your palm. Knots of tissue form under the skin—eventually creating a thick cord that can pull one or more fingers into a bent position.

Although painless, the affected fingers can’t be straightened completely, which can complicate everyday activities, such as placing your hands in your pockets, putting on gloves or shaking hands.

Dupuytren’s contracture mainly affects the ring finger and pinky, and it is more common in men than in women. A number of treatments are available to slow the progression of Dupuytren’s contracture and relieve symptoms.

 

Symptoms

Pinpoint your pain.

Dupuytren’s contracture symptoms usually occur very gradually:

  • Nodules. One or more small, tender lumps, or nodules, form in the palm of the hand. Over time, the tenderness usually goes away.
  • Bands of tissue. The nodules may thicken and contract, forming tough bands of tissue under the skin.
  • Curled fingers. One or more fingers bend toward the palm. The ring and little fingers are most commonly affected, but any or all fingers can be involved. As the bend in the finger increases, it may be hard to straighten your finger. Grasping large objects and putting your hand in a pocket becomes difficult.
 
 

Diagnosis

Get the answers you need.

Your doctor will examine your hand, and then test the feeling in your thumb and fingers. Your grip and pinch strength may also be tested. During the examination, your doctor will record the locations of nodules and bands on your palm. Using a special device, he or she will measure the amount of contracture in your fingers. Your doctor may also measure the range of motion in your fingers to determine whether there is limitation in your flexion. Your doctor will refer back to these measurements throughout your treatment to determine whether the disease is progressing.

 

Treatment

Life’s too short to put up with pain.

There is no way to stop or cure Dupuytren’s contracture. However, it is not dangerous. Dupuytren’s contracture usually progresses very slowly and may not become troublesome for years. It may never progress beyond lumps in the palm. If the condition progresses, nonsurgical treatment, such as corticosteroid injections, may help to slow the disease. If the disease is progressing over time, surgery or an injection to release the cord may be recommended. After surgery, elevating your hand above your heart and gently moving your fingers help to relieve pain, swelling and stiffness. Physical therapy may be helpful during recovery after surgery. Specific exercises can help strengthen your hands and help you move your fingers.

 

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