Dupuytren's Contracture is a thickening of the tissue below the skin in the palm of the hand. As a result of this thickening, lumps can form beneath the skin, usually appearing at the base of the ring and pinkie fingers. These lumps eventually develop into a thick band, called a cord, that extends into the fingers, causing them to contract or pull into the palm. Dupuytren’s contracture can also affect the knuckles of the fingers by creating lumps or bands over the knuckle pads. In most cases Dupuytren’s contracture affects both hands, though one hand tends to be affected at a greater degree than the other. It is rare for both the thumb and index finger to be affected. This hand deformity develops slowly over time, though there are instances of it developing in as little as a few weeks. Discomfort in the hands is not a common symptom of Dupuytren’s contracture.
Dupuytren’s Contracture Symptoms
You may experience one or more of the following symptoms of Dupuytren's contracture:
Dupuytren’s Contracture Causes
The cause of Dupuytren’s contracture is unknown. There appear to be certain risk factors, but there are no proven links between certain hand exposures or injuries and the disease. Risk factors for Dupuytren’s contracture are:
Treatments for Dupuytren's contracture depend upon the severity of the condition. There are three treatments that are most commonly used to treat Dupuytren’s Disease. One nonsurgical treatment is enzyme injections. This treatment has gotten a lot of attention recently, because it has been heavily advertised. The treatment uses an injection of an enzyme that digests the cord over night to weaken the cord so that it can be broken by your doctor the next day. The second treatment is an office procedure called percutaneous fasciotomy, which is cutting the cord with the tip of a needle placed through the skin. The third treatment is Dupuytren's Contracture Release Surgery, the most commonly used treatment that removes the cord and the nodules, or lumps, in the palm that is done as an outpatient operation.
The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's Hand and Wrist Services in New York treats Dupuytren's contracture as well as a broad range of shoulder and elbow conditions that can occur at any stage of life.