Dupuytrens Contracture

Definition

Dupuytrens contracture is a thickening and shortening of the fascia in the palm of the hand. The fascia is a firm tissue that lies just below the skin. This condition causes affected fingers to curl towards the palm and makes extension of these fingers difficult or impossible.
Dupuytren's Contracture Scarring
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Causes

The exact cause of Dupuytrens contracture is unknown. For some people, the condition is inherited.

Risk Factors

This condition is more common in men and those over 40 years of age. Factors that may increase your chances of getting Dupuytrens contracture include:
  • A parent with Dupuytrens contracture
  • Hand trauma
  • Manual labor
  • Vibration exposure at work
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Epilepsy
  • Use of certain anticonvulsant medications for epilepsy
  • Liver disease
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes

Symptoms

At first, symptoms of finger curling are mild, but they may worsen over time. The rate of progression varies among people.The ring finger is usually affected first, followed by the little finger, then the index, and long finger. Fingers on either or both hands can be affected. The first physical sign of this condition is a nodule in the palm near the base of a finger. A nodule is a small thickening of the fascia under the skin. In some cases, nodules can be sensitive to touch. Generally, though, this condition is not painful.As a contracture progresses, the nodule becomes a thickened fibrous cord that extends into the finger under the skin. As the cord thickens and shortens, the affected finger is pulled (curled) in towards the palm. It becomes difficult or impossible to extend the finger.

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