Dupuytren's Contracture

What is Dupuytren's contracture?

Dupuytren's contracture occurs when tissues in your hand thicken. The thickened tissue may form cords that extend from your palm to your finger. The cord may shorten, and your palm or finger may become stuck in a bent position. Dupuytren's contracture may occur in one or both of your hands. It is most common in the ring and little fingers.

What increases my risk for Dupuytren's contracture?

The cause of Dupuytren's contracture may not be known. Any of the following can increase your risk:

  • Family history of the condition

  • Older age

  • Medical conditions, such as diabetes or seizures

  • Alcohol use

  • Hand trauma

What are the signs and symptoms of Dupuytren's contracture?

  • Thickened skin on your palm

  • Changes on your palm, such as dimples or pitting

  • One or more raised or firm lumps under the skin of your palm or finger

  • A thick, firm cord of tissue on your palm or finger

  • One or more bent fingers or a bent palm

How is Dupuytren's contracture diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your hand and count any lumps you may have. He may measure the angle of your bent fingers. He will ask you to place your palms flat on a table to see how much you can straighten them.

How is Dupuytren's contracture treated?

You may not need treatment if your symptoms are mild. If your fingers become bent or you have difficulty using your hand, you may need any of the following:

  • A steroid or enzyme injection can help decrease inflammation and straighten your finger.

  • Surgery may be needed to divide or remove the thickened tissue that is causing the contracture. Ask for more information on the type of surgery you may need.

How can I manage my symptoms?

  • Use heat and massage. Apply heat on your hand to warm up your muscles and gently massage your fingers and palm.

  • Stretch your fingers. Bend them backward from your palm to straighten them. Do not hold objects with a tight grip.

  • Go to physical and occupational therapy. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to improve movement and strength and decrease pain. An occupational therapist teaches you skills to help with your daily activities.

  • Wear your splint as directed. You may need to wear a splint to help straighten your fingers. You may need to wear the splint all the time, during the day, or during the night.

  • Limit alcohol. Ask how much alcohol you should drink. A drink of alcohol is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of liquor.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have a fever.

  • There is a new lump, dimple, or dent on your palm or finger.

  • You have a pocket of fluid under your skin.

  • Your palm or finger becomes bent again.

  • You feel tingling or a pricking feeling on your hand.

  • You have trouble straightening your finger or palm.

  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care or call 911?

  • You have severe pain in your hand.

  • You cannot use your hand at all.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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