What Is Dupuytren's Contracture?

What Is Dupuytren's Contracture?

Posted on 05/30/2023

Dupuytren's contracture is a condition characterized by an abnormal thickening of the fascia. This is the layer of tissue in the palm under the skin at the base of the fingers. The thickened tissue can develop into a thick band or hard lump, causing the fingers to contract or curl. It can affect one or more fingers, where they curl inward towards the palm or pull sideways. It usually affects the ring and little fingers.


Causes of Dupuytren's Contracture

The exact cause of Dupuytren's contracture is unknown, but it is believed to be genetic. The painless condition may also be linked to diabetes, alcoholism, smoking, certain medications, and nutritional deficiencies.

Older individuals have a higher risk of developing the disorder. It is more prevalent among men than women and among individuals of Scandinavian or Northern European descent. People taking seizure medication may develop the condition.


Symptoms of Dupuytren's Contracture

Common symptoms of the condition include:

  • Inability to lay the hand flat, palm down

  • Having fingers that are pulled forward

  • Nodules that thicken and tighten or contract, causing thick tissue bands under the skin

  • Having one or several tender lumps on the palm; the tenderness may go away over time

  • Grooves or pits in the skin formed by the contracted fingers

  • The inability of the hand to work well

The symptoms of Dupuytren's contracture may be similar to those of other health problems. It is essential to visit a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis.


Diagnosing Dupuytren's Contracture

To diagnose the condition, the specialist will examine the hand and test the feeling and flexibility of the thumb and fingers. Testing pinch strength and grip is helpful. The healthcare provider will measure and record the bands and nodules on the palm. A special tool helps measure how the fingers are contracting or curling. The diagnosis may also involve measuring the range of motion in the fingers. Measurements help monitor the progress of the condition over time.


Treating Dupuytren's Contracture

Dupuytren's contracture has no cure, and the condition is not dangerous. Many people live with the condition without getting treatment. However, treatment can help ease the symptoms or slow the disease.

A healthcare provider will develop a treatment plan based on various factors. The factors include age, overall health, the severity of the condition, and the patient's ability to handle particular treatments or therapies. Before prescribing treatment, the provider will determine whether the disorder is expected to worsen.


Dupuytren's Contracture Treatment Options 

Treatment options for Dupuytren's contracture include:

  • Surgery

  • Radiation therapy

  • Steroid injections

  • Enzyme injections

  • Needle aponeurotomy

Treatment for the condition may only provide temporary relief. The contraction may return over time.

Over time, Dupuytren's contracture can make it hard to use the hand for various tasks. The inability to grasp large objects can make it hard to work. People who work with vibrating tools may develop the condition. If symptoms worsen or new symptoms develop, it is essential to contact a healthcare provider.

Dupuytren's Contracture has no known cure, but treatment can help relieve symptoms. The condition can affect one or both hands, and the symptoms often worsen over the years.

For more on Dupuytren's contracture, visit East Bay Hand & Upper Extremity at our Oakland, California, office. Call 510.904.1100 to schedule an appointment today.


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