Dupuytren’s contracture is a type of hand deformity that develops over a period of years, curling the fingers into the palm of the hand.
Although this condition is not dangerous, doctors have not discovered any means of preventing it. Fortunately, hand surgery is effective for most patients. If this condition is diagnosed early enough, doctors can help to slow its progression.
What Is Dupuytren’s Contracture?
With this disfiguring condition, tissue in the palm thickens and forms knots. These knots develop into thick, cord-like bands of tissue that pull the fingers inward toward the palm. It can affect one or more of the fingers on one or both hands, but typically starts with the ring or pinky finger.
The first indication of this condition is often nodules in the palm of the hand, followed by a noticeable thickening of tissue bands beneath the skin of the palm.
Causes of Dupuytren’s Contracture
Although doctors have not identified the specific cause of this condition, they know that it does not develop from the way patients use their hands. It is also not caused by any specific injury.
Men face an increased risk of developing this condition, especially men of Northern European descent. The condition is hereditary and the likelihood of developing it increases with age. Additional risk factors include having diabetes, using tobacco and drinking alcohol.
Treatment of Dupuytren’s Contracture
Although this condition has no cure, a hand specialist may be able to prescribe treatment to slow its progression. Physical and occupational therapy can help patients learn new ways to perform everyday activities, helping them to overcome many of the debilitating aspects of this condition.
Nonsurgical treatment options were traditionally limited to corticosteroid injections. Today, however, some newer treatment protocols offer hope for Dupuytren’s patients. Specifically, injections of the enzyme collagenase (Clostridium histolyticum or CCH), administered by a hand surgeon, may be effective for treating this condition without surgery.
In advanced cases, hand surgery is effective for many patients. The procedure removes affected tissue in the hand. Although the recovery takes longer and may require physical therapy, surgical release can help return the hands to full function.
In West Valley City, Utah, Dr. J. Douglas Burrows of the Center of Orthopedic & Rehabilitation Excellence (CORE), is a leading expert in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the fingers, hands and wrists. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation for Dupuytren’s Contracture or any other issue concerning the wrists or hands.