Dupuytren disease, also known as Dupuytren contracture, is a condition that causes the tissue just beneath the skin of the palm to tighten, drawing the fingers into the palm.
Symptoms of Dupuytren's
Initially you may just feel the tissue beneath your palm to thicken; however, over time the thickening tissue will start to cause lumps and thick cords that develop in your palm. These cords typically extend from the palm into one or more fingers and can make it difficult for you to open your hand. The skin tightness and bent fingers develops slowly over time, taking months or even years to develop. Duputren’s can occur in both hands, although one hand will usually be worse than the other.
Causes of Dupuytren's
While the cause of Dupuytren’s is unknown, heredity is thought to be a factor and Dupuytren’s is often seen in older males. Smoking, diabetes and a family history of Dupuytren’s are all risk factors for the disease.
Your Treatment Options
In many cases of Dupuytren disease the thickened tissue in the palm doesn’t progress or cause pain; however, when the tissue becomes stiff and limits the ability to use your hand treatment becomes necessary. Surgery can be performed to remove the thick tissue in the palm and your surgeon may also recommend an injection and manipulation to help straighten your fingers.
Hand therapy can also help in the post-operative care and management of Dupuytren’s disease. Your hand therapist can fabricate a splint (orthosis?) to help keep your fingers extended after surgery. You will also work with your hand therapist to develop a home exercise program to perform to help regain your strength and manage post-surgical scars to aid in regaining the use of your hand.