Dupuytren’s Contracture (Dupuytren’s Disease)
What is Dupuytren’s Contracture?
Dupuytren’s contracture, or Dupuytren’s disease, is a hand deformity that typically develops over the course of several years as a layer of tissue beneath the palm of the skin thickens. Fingers may be pulled into a bent position as a result of this thickening. Knobs or fibrous cords under the skin may also develop over your knuckles. The condition may make simple actions like placing your hands in your pockets, grasping objects or shaking hands difficult. Men are typically more susceptible to this disease, whose cause is currently unknown.
How to tell if you have Dupuytren’s Contracture
- Lumps or cords under the skin in the hand
- Unnatural bending of the fingers
- In some cases, the lumps may cause discomfort, but the condition is not typically painful
How Dupuytren’s Contracture is diagnosed
A physical examination will be performed by your hand surgeon. Your physician may ask you to place your hand flat on a table, shake hands; or straighten your fingers to evaluate the severity of your condition. A visual examination of the hand may also confirm the disease.
How to treat Dupuytren’s Contracture
In severe cases, where function is diminished or the condition is advanced, surgery or injection may be necessary. The goal of any treatment of Dupuytren’s contracture is to restore range of motion and function. Conservative treatment, such as continued follow-up visits for observation or hand therapy, may also help the patient restore function. It is imperative to seek medical treatment as soon as conditions are apparent. The condition may advance to a degree where restoration of function may be limited, particularly if the patient experiences it at an early age. Splinting may also help minimize the affects of the condition.