Dupuytrens contracture is a common disorder that affects and thickens the connective tissues in the palm of the hand. It is a painless condition which typically causes one or more fingers to bend towards the palm of the hand and cannot be fully straightened.
Dupuytrens contracture typically affects men over 40 years of age; however, women and younger individuals are also at risk. It is known to be a hereditary condition; however, the cause of Dupuytrens is unknown. Nor is there any proven evidence that specific occupations or hand injuries lead to a higher risk of developing Dupuytrens.
Symptoms typically progress slowly, over years; however, in some cases symptoms do occur suddenly.
Symptoms associated with Dupuytrens include small, firm lumps and pits that form beneath the skin within the palm of the hand. Tough, thick bands (cords) of tissue may develop and affects the tendon sheath which causes the fingers to pull into the palm of the hand, leading to the deformity of the fingers (bending into the palm). Further indication is that at a certain point, the palm cannot be placed flush with a flat surface such as a table.
As the disorder progresses, the involved fingers are drawn toward the palm by the band of tissue that forms there. The fourth and fifth fingers are the most commonly affected, but any finger is vulnerable to this condition, including the thumb.
Dupuytrens is treatable. Treatment is most effective if sought at the nodule (firm lumps) stage. Collagenase injections, splints and hand therapy are available as a nonsurgical option. In more severe cases, surgery is an option.
At Hand to Shoulder Center of Wisconsin, our hand surgeons treat mild to severe case of Dupuytrens contracture. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us.