For most people, the simple tasks of grasping a hammer or steak knife are easy. Cooking with an oven requires oven mitts to keep hands from burning.
Putting them on should be simple. Unfortunately, some people suffer from a condition which causes their fingers to tighten into a curl. They are unable to straighten out and perform a lot of the simple tasks they want to do. This condition is named Dupuytren’s contracture.
Dupuytren’s contracture tends to be progressive. It will start slowly and build up. It is reasonably common and can affect around 5% of people at some point in their lives. Some people may suffer from very mild cases and barely realize they have it. There’s a lot of information to learn about Dupuytren’s contracture and many people are unaware of it. This article aims to answer many of the common questions about Dupuytren’s contracture and give a basis in this condition.
The 5 Important Questions
1: How Does Dupuytren’s Contracture Work?
A: Layers of tissue will form under the palm of the hand. These layers of tissue eventually start to form cords of tissue up to the fingers. These cords connect to the palm, and then tighten. As they tighten, they will pull down the fingers towards the palm and won’t allow them to straighten. Severe cases can look somewhat clawlike. The unstraightened fingers make performing many common and simple tasks difficult or impossible to complete.
2: Is The Whole Hand Affected?
A: Typically most cases of Dupuytren’s contracture will not affect the whole hand. The vast majority of cases occur in the pinky and ring finger. While it’s also possible for cases to occur in the middle finger, it’s very rare for Dupuytren’s contracture to occur in the index finger or a person’s thumb. It’s also good to note that some people will have Dupuytren’s contracture in both of their hands at once. In these cases, it’s common for one hand to suffer from a higher level of severity in one of the hands.
3: Am I at Risk of Getting Dupuytren’s Contracture?
A: This condition can occur in approximately 1 in 20 people over the course of their lives. Many cases are light and may not require treatment to be handled. There are many risk factors which can increase the chance that you will develop contracture. People who trace their history to Northern Europe or have a family history are at greater risk. Smoking or drinking too much alcohol can also be risk factors. Contractures are more likely to form for men, and also for people over the age of 50. Finally, diabetics are at a higher risk of getting contracture than those without that terrible disease.
4: How Can It Be Treated?
A: There are a variety of options when it comes to treating dupuytren’s contracture. The goal of any treatment plan is to get rid of the cords which are pulling the fingers down. After that’s finished, some basic exercises and physical therapy can allow the fingers to properly straighten and function again. Needling is a method which uses needles to sever those cords. Enzymes can be injected into the cords to make them weak and all a doctor to break them and straighten fingers. Severe cases may require surgery, with tissue from the hand being removed entirely.
5: Is There Any Way To Treat Dupuytren’s Contracture At Home?
A: Typically, there are some simple things that can be done for people who have a mild case to try and help and protect their hands. By avoiding bad situations, the progress of contracture can be slowed, though oftentimes it will still continue to progress regardless of how much care is taken. People should avoid trying to grip small things tightly. Items with handles can have the size of the handles increased using cushion tape to help avoid this. If performing a task that requires grasping a heavy object, gloves with adequate padding should be used to minimize the stress and pressure on the hand and affected finger area.