What is Dupuytren’s Contracture?
When the tissue beneath the skin on the palm of your hand and fingers, and sometimes the skin itself, thickens and contracts, this could be an indication of Dupuytren’s Contracture. When this happens, knots or nodules form under your skin. Over time these knots can form thick cords that pull one or more of your fingers into a bent position. When your fingers begin to contract, you may experience a decreasing range of motion.
Why does Dupuytren’s Contracture happen?
The cause of Dupuytren’s disease is still unknown. The disease occurs up to six times more often in men than women. Those from with European backgrounds experience the highest incidence of the disease. Tobacco and alcohol use also increase your risk as well as a history of diabetes.
What are common symptoms?
You are most likely experiencing some knots or nodules close to the base of your ring or pinky finger that may or may not be painful. The symptoms typically occur in both hands and progression is somewhat unpredictable.
- Nodules near the base of ring and pinky fingers
- Usually firm, move with the skin
- Sometimes mildly painful
- More nodules with small indentations or “pits”
- Fingers may bend into palm of hand
- Finger use may become difficult
- Numbness and tingling
In advanced cases:
- Nodules thicken and adhere to the skin
- Nodules turn into a “cord” and extend from palm and into fingers
- Skin on the tops of knuckles thickens
What are my treatment options?
A number of treatments are available to slow the disease’s progression and to relieve your symptoms. After a physical examination, your Summit orthopedic specialist will explain treatment options appropriate for your unique situation and formulate a plan tailored to your needs.
Your custom treatment plan may include:
- Enzyme injections
- Hand Therapy
What are the benefits of surgical treatment?
Surgical treatment is generally not appropriate for minor cases unless especially painful, as it may cause the disease to worsen. In more advanced cases, surgery can be highly successful. Surgical treatment:
- Relieves tension of contractures
- Removes abnormal tissue from palm and fingers
What can I expect the results to be after treatment?
Although treatment can help relieve some symptoms, Dupuytren’s is a progressive disease that often recurs even after surgery. The good news is that many times the the disease progresses slowly, is only mildly painful, and has little to no impact on your ability to use your hands for everyday tasks. If this is your situation, you may not need treatment unless your symptoms progress.
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