Dupuytren's Disease

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

  • Dupuytren's disease is a condition that makes some of the tissue in your hand thicken. The tissue may form cords that start on your palm and go to your finger. If the cord contracts (becomes shorter), then your palm or finger may become stuck in a bent position. Dupuytren's disease may occur in one or both of your hands. Any finger may become bent, but it is more common in your ring and little finger. With Dupuytren's disease, you may first notice dimples or pits on your palm. You may feel bumps or cords of tissue on your palm and your finger may become bent. Caregivers do not know what causes Dupuytren's disease, but think it may be inherited (runs in the family).

  • Your caregiver will ask you questions about your health and will examine your hands. You may need medicine to decrease the size of your lump and make it softer. You may also need surgery to weaken or remove the cord of tissue in your palm and fingers. Dupuytren's disease is a progressive disease, which means it gets worse over time. Dupuytren's disease may happen many times over your lifetime and your finger may never fully become unbent. Treatment may help decrease your pain. Your finger may become less bent and it may be easier to use your hand.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Take your medicine as directed.

Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.

    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.

    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.

    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

  • You may need to return to your caregiver many times after your treatment for Dupuytren's disease. Your caregiver will examine your hand and check to see if it is still bent. He may measure your hand and see how far your fingers and wrist can stretch. Your caregiver may take out your stitches once you can fully stretch your hand. He may change your bandages or take out your drain if you have one. Your caregiver may ask you to do things like open a jar or put your hands in your pockets. This may show him if you still have problems using your hand.

Therapies:

  • Physical therapy: Your caregiver may want you to go to physical therapy. A physical therapist will help you with special hand exercises. These exercises may help make the bones and muscles in your hand become stronger and move better. He may have you stretch your hands, wrists, and fingers in different directions.

  • Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy (OT) uses work, self-care, and other normal daily activities to help you function better in your daily life. OT helps you develop skills to improve your ability to bathe, dress, cook, eat, and drive. You may learn to use special tools to help you with your daily activities. You may also learn new ways to keep your home or workplace safe.

  • Massage therapy: Your caregiver may want you to have massage therapy on your hands. Massage may help decrease your pain and swelling. It may also help prevent scars from stopping your joints from working properly.

Splints:

You may need to wear special splints to help keep your fingers straight. These splints may be worn all the time. They may also be worn just at night or during the day. Splints may help your wound heal. Ask your caregiver for more information about splints and the type of splint that you may need.

Lifestyle changes:

Your caregiver may want you to make changes to your lifestyle. These changes may include either of the following:

  • Do not drink alcohol: Some people should not drink alcohol. These people include those with certain medical conditions or who take medicine that interacts with alcohol. Alcohol includes beer, wine, and liquor. Tell your caregiver if you drink alcohol. Ask him to help you stop drinking.

  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. Ask for information about how to stop smoking if you need help.

CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:

  • You have a fever (high body temperature).

  • Your surgery site is swollen, red, or has pus coming out of it.

  • 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, treatment, or care.

SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

  • You have very bad pain in your hand.

  • Your wound splits open.

  • The skin around your surgery site darkens or turns black.

  • You cannot use your hand at all.

© 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.

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.

Learn more about Dupuytren's Disease (Aftercare Instructions)

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