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Dupuytren’s Disease

What is it?  

Dupuytren’s contracture happens when the palmar fascia, a tissue under the skin near your fingers becomes thicker and less flexible.  

The exact cause is unknown, but it’s been linked to: 

  • having a family history of the condition 
  • smoking 
  • drinking lots of alcohol 
  • having diabetes or epilepsy 

Dupuytren’s contracture mainly affects the ring and little fingers, but can affect any finger including the thumb. You can have it in both hands at the same time. It tends to get slowly worse over many months or years. If the contracture worsens it can limit your ability to use your hand in a normal way.

How to manage it?  

Sometimes, in early disease there can be some pain when there is pressure applied to the nodules, e.g.: with sustained gripping.  It is also possible to get some palm pain even at rest. In both cases the pain commonly subsides with time. There are no treatments to prevent progression of the condition. There is no evidence that trying to stretch the affected finger or using a splint is of any benefit.  Steroid injections are also not indicated.  You should continue to use your hand as normally as possible.  

If your finger is bent into your palm to the extent it is causing problems with function an operation can be done to try to straighten the finger as much as possible. The only other indication for an operation is where the Dupuytrens is causing the small joints in the hand to bend in.  

How to prevent it? 

There is little you can do to prevent this from happening as it is usually a hereditary condition. 

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