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Dupuytren's Contracture

What is Dupuytren's contracture?

Dupuytren's contracture is a thickening of the fibrous tissue layer underneath the skin of the palm and fingers. Although painless, the thickening and tightening (contracture) of this fibrous tissue can cause the fingers to curl (flex).

Symptoms of Dupuytren's contracture include painful bumps (nodules) under the skin that develop into tight bands of tissue, causing the fingers to curl.

Common Causes

Dupuytren’s is a genetic disorder. It can sometimes begin after a traumatic event, such as a fracture or laceration, or develop slowly over time.

Examination and Diagnosis

To receive a diagnosis, a qualified musculoskeletal expert will first take a medical history and conduct a physical exam. Your doctor will examine and test your palm and your ability to straighten and bend your fingers. Other tests are rarely needed.

Treatment

There is no way to stop or cure Dupuytren's contracture. Dupuytren's contracture usually progresses very slowly and may not become troublesome for years. It may never progress beyond lumps in the palm, or it may progress to the point where it severely limits hand function. Splinting is not usually effective to prevent or slow its progression. 

Different surgical approaches include removal of the thickened tissue from the palm with open surgery, as well as injecting the tissue or using a needle itself to break up the tight bands of tissue.