Dupuytren’s contracture disease is a condition in which the palmar fascia, a layer of tissue under the skin of the palm, thickens, pulling and bending affected fingers toward the palm. A person with this condition may notice small, firm knots under the skin at the base of the finger. Fingers that have been bent by this condition can’t be straightened, even when using the other hand to try to straighten the finger. This differs from Trigger Finger, which can sometimes be mistaken for Dupuytren’s Contracture. Fingers affected by Trigger Finger can typically be straightened when pulled by the other hand.
-Over the age of 50
-Alcohol and tobacco users
-Family history of Dupuytren’s Contracture
-Northern European ancestry
Typically, the first sign of Dupuytren’s Contracture is a lump in the palm of the hand, which appears after the age of 40, in most cases. Patients may also notice puckering and/or thickening of the skin on their palm(s), and the area may also be painful, tender to the touch, or burn. Nodules may resolve on their own, but more often than not, they slowly progress to a more advanced stage.
As the condition progresses, cords of tissue form under the skin, extending to the fingers, tightening, and pulling the fingers toward the palm. The pinky and ring fingers are most often affected, but the middle finger can be as well.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for Dupuytren’s Contracture, but there are some treatments a hand specialist can recommend and perform to break apart the cords of tissue that have formed, which pull the finger to a bent position. Surgery may be recommended, or Xiaflex, an FDA-approved non-surgical prescription treatment option, may also be an option for treatment.
When a finger bends toward the palm, it’s not always Dupuytren’s Contracture. Read this article for more information.
It’s important to get established with a hand doctor early in the condition’s progression so that the physician can address the condition as it worsens.
Dupuytren’s Contracture can have a massive effect on a person’s ability to use their hands, as if left unaddressed, the hand can no longer be fully opened. If you suspect you may have the condition, make a list of questions you’d like to ask a hand specialist and call Midwest Hand Surgery to schedule an appointment at 630-359-6888. The Midwest Hand Surgery team has years of experience in hand, finger and wrist injuries and conditions and offer a premier diagnosis and treatment experience.
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