Dupuytren's Contracture

Dupuytren's Contracture

Dupuytren's contracture is a hand condition that affects the connective tissue beneath the skin in the palm and fingers. It is named after Baron Guillaume Dupuytren, the French surgeon who first described the condition in the 19th century. Dupuytren's contracture is characterized by the progressive thickening and tightening of the fascia (palmar aponeurosis) in the hand, leading to the development of nodules and cords that can pull the fingers into a bent or contracted position.

Causes: The exact cause of Dupuytren's contracture is not fully understood, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is more common in individuals of Northern European descent and tends to run in families. Some risk factors associated with the condition include age (usually affects individuals over 50), gender (more common in males), family history, and certain lifestyle factors like smoking and alcohol consumption.

Symptoms: The primary symptoms of Dupuytren's contracture include:

  1. Nodules or lumps in the palm: Small, tender nodules may develop under the skin in the palm of the hand.
  2. Finger contracture: As the condition progresses, thickened cords may form, extending from the palm to the fingers. These cords can cause the affected fingers (usually the ring finger and little finger) to bend inward toward the palm.
  3. Difficulty straightening fingers: Over time, it becomes challenging or impossible to fully extend the affected fingers.
  4. Hand deformity: In severe cases, the contracture can lead to significant hand deformity, impacting the ability to perform everyday tasks.

Treatment: Treatment for Dupuytren's contracture is aimed at managing symptoms, improving hand function, and preventing further progression of the condition. The appropriate treatment option depends on the severity of the contracture and its impact on hand function. Common treatment approaches include:

  1. Observation: In mild cases with minimal symptoms, periodic monitoring may be sufficient.
  2. Hand Therapy: Hand therapy can be beneficial for stretching and strengthening the hand muscles and maintaining hand function.
  3. Steroid Injections: Corticosteroid injections can help reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms in some cases.
  4. Needle Aponeurotomy: This minimally invasive procedure involves using a needle to break the cords and improve finger movement.
  5. Surgery: For severe cases with significant hand contracture, surgery may be necessary to release the affected tendons and fascia.


It is essential to consult with a hand specialist or hand therapist to determine the most suitable treatment plan based on the individual's specific condition and needs. Early intervention and appropriate management can help improve hand function and quality of life for individuals with Dupuytren's contracture.

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Dupuytren's Contracture