Dupuytren’s contracture is a type of hand deformity. It happens when knots of tissue develop under the skin in the palm, and these knots develop into cords of tissue that pull on one or two fingers.
This prevents straightening of those fingers, thereby reducing mobility and flexibility in the hand.
Symptoms of Dupuytren’s Contracture
Symptoms of Dupuytren’s contracture depends on how far along the condition has progressed. In the beginning, there are generally very few symptoms.
The most common sign or symptom is the thickening of skin on the palm. As the condition progresses, the thick skin develops into a hard lump of tissue. In the later stages of the condition, the tissue begins to pull a few of the hand’s fingers toward the palm.
The most common fingers affected are the ring finger and the pinky finger. In some cases, the middle finger can also be affected. The thumb and index finger are almost never affected.
When the fingers are pulled toward the palm, it can have an impact on the individual’s daily routine. Tasks like putting on gloves or shaking hands can become difficult or impossible.
Risk Factors of Dupuytren’s Contracture
There is no specific known cause of Dupuytren’s contracture. However, there are certain risk factors that increase the chances of a person developing it over time, including:
- Age – People are more likely to develop Dupuytren’s contracture over the age of 50.
- Gender – More men develop this condition than women. Additionally, men tend to have more severe cases of the condition than women do.
- Genetics – If you have any family members who have had Dupuytren’s contracture in the past, you may be at a higher risk of developing it at some point in your life.
- Tobacco and Alcohol Use – Drinking alcohol and smoking can increase the chances of developing Dupuytren’s contracture because of the effect they can have on the blood vessels.
Treatment of the Condition
Treatment for Dupuytren’s contracture depends on the symptoms, stage of progression, and the effect it has on the quality of the person’s life. There are a variety of methods that doctors use to treat Dupuytren’s contracture, including:
Enzyme Injection Therapy
A doctor can inject a collagenase enzyme into the problematic cord in your hand, and the enzyme will weaken and soften the knots of tissue. The doctor can then later manipulate your hand and break the cord, allowing your fingers to straighten again.
For severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the cords of tissue from the palm. Because this is an invasive procedure, the recovery time will be significantly longer than with injection, and it will include physical therapy afterward.
Hand Surgery in Maryland
If you suspect you may have Dupuytren’s contracture or any other issues in your hand or arm, contact our team at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder. We are committed to providing the highest quality of medical care to our patients.
Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons and plastic surgeons are ready to evaluate, diagnose, and treat your condition with the best and most effective technologies available. Call us today at (410) 296-6232 to make an appointment, or complete our online appointment request form here. We look forward to helping you regain your strength and capabilities so you can get back to enjoying life.