Dupuytrens Contracture is a rare type of hand disorder that tends to take a number of years to develop. It causes the layers of tissues that lay beneath the skin on the palm of the hand to begin to form knots. These knots thicken and can actually cause one or more of the fingers to bend. Once they are bent into this position, it will no longer be possible to straighten them. Since it is impossible to bend the fingers, it will make it difficult to do many normal activities and actions. You would not even be capable of putting on a pair of gloves. Eventually, it will become difficult to grasp large objects.
In most cases, only the ring finger and the pinky will be affected. In very rare cases, it can also affect the thumb and the index finger. The contracture tends to affect older men who have a Northern European heritage.
What Are the Causes?
Currently, the cause of Dupuytrens Contracture is unknown. Researchers have not been able to find any evidence that it is related to hand injuries or any occupations that could cause repetitive stress issues or injuries due to vibration. However, they have found a number of factors that can increase the risk of developing the condition.
Men, as mentioned are the most likely to develop the contracture, and it typically affects those who are 50 and over. The condition also tends to run in families. Those who have diabetes are also at an elevated risk. In addition, smoking can increase the risk of developing Dupuytrens Contracture, as can alcohol.
Talking With a Doctor
Chances are good that you will want to speak with a specialist about this condition. Your primary care physician can refer you to a specialist, who will want to know more about your medical history and how you have been dealing with the condition. For example, they want to know whether there is a history of Dupuytrens Contracture in your family, if youve tried any treatments, and what medications you are taking.
The doctor will also want to know when the symptoms first started. Since this condition comes on slowly, it can be difficult to pinpoint when it began. Let them know if you are in pain, if the condition has been getting worse, and how it currently affects your daily life.
Most of the time, the doctors will be able to diagnose you based on examining your hands. The signs of Dupuytrens Contracture are very obvious.
What Are the Treatments?
Doctors can help to treat the condition in a number of different ways. They may use a needle technique, in which the doctor will insert a needle into the affected area to break up the hardened tissues that is causing the finger to contract. They may also utilize enzyme injections. Those who have advanced stages of the disease can also have surgery to help remove the hardened tissue.
If you suffer from Dupuytrens Contracture, speak with a doctor about your condition to find the best treatment options.