Dupuytren’s contracture is a hand deformity which usually develops over years. This condition is affecting a layer of tissue which lies under the skin of your palm. Knots of tissue are forming under your skin, eventually creating a thick cord which can pull one or more fingers into a bent position. The affected fingers cannot be straightened completely and this can complicate the everyday activities, such as shaking hands, putting on gloves or placing your hands in your pockets.It is known that the Dupuytren’s contracture is mainly affecting the 2 fingers farthest from the thumb and it happens most often in older men of Northern European (Dutch, French, Scottish, Irish and English) descent.
There are many different treatments which can slow the progression of Dupuytren’s contracture and they will give you a relief from the symptoms. Also, people who have Scandinavian (Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish) background have increased chances of getting Dupuytren’s contracture.
The Dupuytren’s contracture typically is progressing slowly, over years. It usually begins as a thickening of the skin on the palm of the hand. As this condition progresses, the skin of the palm can appear dimpled or puckered. Also, a firm lump of tissue can form on your palm. This lump can be sensitive to touch and usually it is not painful. When the Dupuytren’s contracture is in the later stages, then cords of tissue are forming under the skin of your palm and they can extend up to your fingers.
As these cords tighten, your fingers can be pulled toward your palm and in some cases it can be severely. The most commonly affected fingers are the two fingers farthest from the thumb but the middle finger can be also affected. There are rare cases when the thumb and index fingers are affected. This condition can happen in both hands, but usually just one hand is affected.
If you have some symptom of Dupuytren’s contracture, then you should visit your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor can diagnose the Dupuytren’s contracture by to look and feel of your hands. In rare cases, doctors do other tests. Your doctor will compared your hands to each other and he or she will check for puckering on the skin of your palms. Your doctor will press on the parts of your hands and fingers to see if there are toughened knots or bands of tissue.
Doctors do not know what the cause for Dupuytren’s contracture is but certain biochemical factors which affect the palm’s connective tissue can be involved. There are not evidences in which are said that hand occupations or injuries which involve vibrations to the hands are cause for Dupuytren’s contracture. Also, tendons are not affected.
There are many factors which can increase your risk of Dupuytren’s contracture, such as
- Diabetes: Those people who have diabetes are having increased risk of getting Dupuytren’s contracture.
- Tobacco and alcohol use: It is noticed that smoking is increasing the risk of Dupuytren’s contracture which may be due to the microscopic changes within the blood vessels that are caused by smoking. Also, the alcohol intake is increasing the chances for Dupuytren’s contracture.
- Family history: There are some studies in which are said that the Dupuytren’s contracture often runs in families.
- Ancestry: It is known fact that people of Northern European descent are having increased risk for Dupuytren’s contracture.
- Sex: There are many studies in which are shown that men are having increased chances of developing Dupuytren’s contracture and they have more severe contractures than women.
- Age: It is shown that Dupuytren’s contracture is most commonly happening after age of 50.
This condition can make difficult for you to perform some functions using your hand. Usually, the thumb and index finger are not affected so many people do not have much inconvenience or disability with the fine motor activities, such as writing. As the Dupuytren’s contracture progresses, then it can limit your ability to fully open your hand, grasp large objects or to get your hand into narrow places.