Dupuytren’s contracture is a hand condition that affects the layer of elastic tissue underneath the skin of the palm and fingers. Over time, this normally pliant tissue can gradually thicken, which can cause one or more fingers—usually the ring finger or pinkie—to be pulled upward into a permanently bent position. The condition can occur in both hands, although one hand may be more severely affected than the other.
In many cases, Dupuytren’s contracture develops after age 50, but its precise causes are not well understood. Through research performed to date, scientists have been unable to establish any link between the condition and prior hand injuries or occupations that cause repetitive hand vibration.
What Are the Symptoms of Dupuytren’s Contracture?
Typically, Dupuytren’s contracture progresses very slowly over several years. Some common signs include:
- An inability to straighten the ring finger or pinkie
- An inability to fully open the hand
- An inability to grasp large objects
- A thickening, dimpling, or puckering of the skin on the palm
- A firm, painless knot of tissue on the palm
How Is Dupuytren’s Contracture Treated?
Treatment for Dupuytren’s contracture is not always needed. If the condition is not limiting or painful, a physician may simply recommend a wait-and-watch approach. An effective way to monitor the progression of Dupuytren’s contracture is to perform a tabletop test, which involves attempting to place the palm flat on a table. When necessary, the goal of treatment is to break up the fibrous cords of tissue that are pulling the fingers toward the palm. This may be accomplished in several ways, including needling, enzyme injections, or, in severe cases, surgery.
The team at Premier Bone & Joint Centers welcomes individuals who have been diagnosed with Dupuytren’s contracture as well as those who are experiencing nonspecific hand or wrist pain. Throughout the diagnostic and treatment process, our experienced orthopedic specialists are committed to providing our patients with the individualized attention and extensive support that they need to return to their active lifestyles.
To request an appointment with a board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeon who specializes in treating hand and wrist conditions, contact Premier Bone & Joint Centers today. We have satellite clinics throughout Wyoming, including a convenient location in Thermopolis.