Dupuytren’s contracture is a common hand condition that makes the fingers appear permanently bent. It mainly affects men and people who are of Caucasian or Northern European descent; the risk is also higher if you have diabetes, hypertension, or chronic hand exposure to cold.
The primary sign of Dupuytren’s contracture is one or more fingers that cannot be straightened fully because of partial fibrosis of the palmar fascia in the palm of your hand. Even so, there are many other factors that can cause similar finger issues and make it challenging to diagnose this condition correctly.
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Read on to learn more about what causes Dupuytren’s Contracture, its symptoms, treatment options and how you can prevent it from appearing.
What is Dupuytren’s Contracture?
Dupuytren’s contracture is a condition that causes the fingers on one or both hands to become bent and unable to be fully straightened. It can also cause the skin on your palm to be pulled and puckered. Dupuytren’s contracture is most commonly found in older adults, particularly those who have diabetes, high blood pressure, or problems with alcohol. The condition is sometimes referred to as “knuckle pads” or “gin hands” when it affects the hands. Dupuytren’s contracture is not a serious condition, and it won’t lead to amputation or disability. However, it can make it difficult to use your hands for certain daily tasks, such as tying shoe laces, writing, and primarily gripping things.
What is the cause of Dupuytren’s contracture?
The cause of Dupuytren’s contracture is unknown, although researchers have identified several factors that might play a role in its development. Dupuytren’s contracture is more common in men, Caucasians, and people who have diabetes, high blood pressure, or alcohol abuse. In rare cases, it can also appear in women and people of Asian descent.
Symptoms of Dupuytren’s contracture
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The primary sign of Dupuytren’s contracture is one or more fingers that cannot be straightened fully because of a partial fibrosis of the palmar fascia in the palm of your hand. The following signs and symptoms may indicate that you have Dupuytren’s contracture: – Curling of one or more fingers toward the palm of your hand – This may occur suddenly or over time and is a sign that the fibrosis is progressing. – Pain – Pain may occur if Dupuytren’s contracture affects the joints. – Joint stiffness – The joints in your fingers may become stiff and unable to be bent. – Wasting of the muscles in the hand – This may happen in the long term and is more common in persons whose contracture is severe.
Your doctor may typically diagnose Dupuytren’s disease by feeling for thickening scar tissue and observing whether your fingers are flexed inward. You may also be required to perform a “table top” exam, in which you place your palm-down hand on a table to determine if it lies flat. If not, you may have a contracture that necessitates surgery. Your doctor can also evaluate your grip strength and finger range of motion.
Treatment for Dupuytren’s contracture
Treatment for Dupuytren’s contracture is not necessary in most cases. Doctors will recommend treatment only when it interferes with your daily life. If you are experiencing pain, they may suggest a steroid injection or surgery to reduce inflammation and pain.
1. Noninvasive Treatments
Injections of corticosteroids can alleviate pain and inflammation and may halt the progression of the condition. Additionally, physicians can inject enzymes into the palm to weaken collagen bands. Your physician will then manipulate your hand until the bands are broken and you can flex your fingers. Needle aponeurotomy, in which the constricted bands are split using small hypodermic needles, is an additional therapy option. Radiation therapy is also being researched as a treatment, and numerous small-scale studies have shown promising results.
2. Surgical treatment for Dupuytren’s Contracture
If contracture symptoms are severe enough to impede everyday life, surgery may be an option. During the treatment, the surgeon will remove the thickened tissue in your palm, restoring finger mobility. Typically, surgery can restore normal mobility, although there are dangers such as infection and nerve injury.
After Dupuytren’s Surgery
After your incision has healed, you will likely require many months of physical treatment. A physical therapist will instruct you on exercises to regain finger strength and mobility. Even if surgery is successful, Dupuytren’s contracture might recur. If so, you may require a different method.
Prevention measures for Dupuytren’s contracture
If you have one or more risk factors or family members with Dupuytren’s contracture, you can reduce your risk of developing this condition with the following prevention tips: –
Avoid repetitive hand movements: Hand positions that involve repetitive movements and/or forceful pressure on the palm, such as manual labor, can increase your risk of developing Dupuytren’s contracture and should be avoided.
Maintain a healthy diet with sufficient fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals: These nutrients may help reduce your risk of certain diseases, including certain types of cancers, heart disease and diabetes, which may also reduce your risk of Dupuytren’s contracture.
Avoid smoking, excessive alcohol and caffeine: These substances can increase your risk of developing many chronic diseases, including certain cancers, diabetes and Dupuytren’s contracture.
Wear gloves when necessary: Wearing gloves when handling chemicals or when the weather is extremely cold can help reduce your risk of Dupuytren’s contracture.
Dupuytren’s contracture is a common hand condition that can make the fingers appear permanently bent. It mainly affects men and people of Caucasian descent, especially those who have diabetes, high blood pressure, or chronic hand exposure to cold. It is important to manage these conditions to reduce your risk of contracting this condition.