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What are the Best Dupuytren's Contracture Exercises For Pain Relief?

by Logan Williams October 14, 2020

Dupuytren's Contracture is a hand condition that can affect one or both hands. It is a deformity that progresses slowly throughout the years. The condition usually starts in the palm and progresses towards the fingers as it worsens.

Dupuytren's contracture usually affects the fingers that are farthest away from the thumb. This causes the patient's hand to resemble a claw because their fingers are being pulled towards their palm. The reason this happens is because the tissue underneath the palm of the hand starts to thicken and stiffen, often forming a cord. 

Most people affected by this hand condition are above the age of 40. Dupuytren's contracture is more likely to appear in males as opposed to females, and Europeans are affected more than any other region of people. 

What Are The Signs Of Dupuytren's Contracture?

Early signs that you could be affected by Dupuytren's contracture are painless lumps and pits in your palm. Sometimes these lumps are sensitive to touch. If left untreated, thick cords can then form and make their way up into your fingers. These cords are what cause the bending in your fingers that resembles a claw.

Another sign you may be suffering from this condition is if you have trouble placing your hand flat on a surface. If left untreated, this could progress to affect your daily activities. Simple things like pulling something out of your pocket or putting on gloves will become increasingly difficult. 

What To Do If You Have Dupuytren's Contracture?

If you think you might be suffering from Dupuytren's contracture you should consult your doctor right away. The earlier you catch this condition and start working on ways to prevent it, the easier it will be to keep this condition from interfering with your life. Many people think the first signs are nothing to worry about because there is no pain, and it isn't causing any problems yet. The mistake of ignoring Dupuytren's contracture at the beginning will cause many problems in the future.

Your doctor will be able to tell you upon examination if you have Dupuytren's contracture. They will then get you to perform some tests and take some measurements to see how far your disease has progressed. It is important that you keep in touch with your doctor as your treatment continues. That way they can compare your earlier results with your more recent results to see how you are progressing.

If your case of Dupuytren's contracture isn't very severe, you may be able to keep it maintained through exercises that your doctor recommends. They may even recommend additional physiotherapy to go along with these hand exercises.

Best Exercises For Dupuytren's Contracture

One of the most important reasons you should consult a doctor at the earliest signs of Dupuytren's contracture is because if caught before the condition becomes severe, there is a good chance further treatment won't be necessary. Finding a lump in your hand doesn't always mean the disease will progress to become worse.

Hand exercises for Dupuytren's Contracture can't cure or prevent Dupuytren's contracture, but they are beneficial if you are in the early stages or only have a mild case.

The most common treatment for severe cases of Dupuytren's contracture is surgery. Hand exercises are also great for therapy after surgery.

Since every individual is different, it's always a good idea to check with your doctor to see if Dupuytren’s exercises will help your specific case before you begin an exercise routine.

There are four main exercises for Dupuytren's Contracture that patients perform to ease the symptoms of their condition. Practicing these exercises could prevent your condition from bothering you in the future.

1: Finger Lifts

When you get examined by your doctor to see if you have Dupuytren's contracture, a tabletop test is one of the most common tests they get you to perform. In this test, you place your hand out flat on a surface. People with severe cases of Dupuytren's contracture often have trouble doing this test.

To perform a finger lift exercise, you need to place your hand on a flat surface just as you would during the tabletop test. One finger at a time, you should slowly lift and hold it up for a few seconds. Never force your fingers if they are too stiff or curled to perform this exercise. That could lead to your condition worsening.

2: Finger Spreads

Although it is most common for Dupuytren's contracture to affect your pinky and ring finger, this doesn't mean that your other fingers are safe from the condition. Finger spreads are an excellent exercise for making sure all of your fingers get a proper stretch.

Lay your hand on a flat surface, similar as you would for the finger lift exercise. Spread your fingers as far apart from each other as comfortably possible, then bring them back together. This exercise is a little bit more comfortable than the finger lifts.

3: Grip Exercises

If you are suffering from Dupuytren's contracture, it's essential to improve your hand's dexterity. You can perform grip exercises with objects around your home. All you need to do is practice picking up objects with your affected hand.
Start with larger objects that will be easier for you to handle, like remote controls and pop cans. Once you feel more comfortable with that, you can progress to smaller items like pencils and knitting needles. You can also improve your grip by crunching paper into a ball.

4: Thumb Exercises

There are two different thumb exercises you can perform at home. The first one is to make an "O" with your hand by touching the tip of your thumb to the tip of each individual finger. This is a good way to stretch different areas of your palm without causing too much stress.

For the second exercise, you should hold your hand out with your fingers together. Spread your thumb away from the other fingers. Then try to touch your thumb to the base of your pinky finger. Once you've reached the pinky, you can spread your fingers out.