Dupuytren’s Contracture

Introduction

The hand and wrist are collectively made up of twenty-seven bones and the hand alone contains three major peripheral nerves. Good hand health is critical for the basic normal activity required for everyday living. Although hand and wrist trauma is a common cause of hand dysfunction, many conditions are not caused by injury, but are genetically linked.

Dupuytren’s Contracture is one such example. Dupuytren’s disease is a genetically predisposed condition that is the result of thickening and tightening of the layer of fibrous tissues located beneath the skin of the palm. The thickening and tightening of the tissue can eventually cause the fingers to curl, forming a contracture. The process is typically slow and without pain but can keep the hand from being able to straighten completely. The most affected parts of the hand are most typically the ring and pinky fingers.

In addition to finger curling, lumps, nodule or pits can form inside the palm. These can sometimes become painful, due to sensitivity, but this usually diminishes over time. The hand can be affected in terms of function if the contracture progresses. This condition is typical seen in males more than females and is more commonly seen in individuals of Northern European descent such as Ireland, Scotland or England.

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