Anyone who suffers from Dupuytren's contracture can understand how this condition affects your daily lifestyle. Simple everyday things, such as buttering bread or washing your hands, becomes too difficult to complete.
Dupuytren's contracture is a condition that affects a person's hand dexterity. This is caused by an abnormal thickening of the skin on the palm. The hand may even develop small painless lumps. If left untreated, this condition could spread into the fingers. When this happens a cord develops on the tissue under the skin of the palm and starts to pull the fingers towards it. This leaves the patient's hand looking very similar to a claw.
In most cases, Dupuytren's contracture doesn't cause the patient any pain, but it does make living day to day rather tricky. This condition is so common that almost every doctor encounters it several times during their career.
Although doctors are very familiar with this condition, there isn't a cure for Dupuytren's contracture. However, there are several forms of treatment, and if caught early enough, doctors may be able to recommend hand exercises to prevent Dupuytren's contracture from affecting your life.
The symptoms of this hand condition are so noticeable that most doctors can spot it just by looking at a patient's hand and feeling it. When Dupuytren's contracture spreads to the fingers, it usually starts with the ones that are the furthest from the thumb. A stiff or curled pinky finger is a sign that a person could have Dupuytren's contracture.
If a patient develops lumps on their palms, they are usually painless but tender upon touch. They may also notice a thickening on the cord in line with their fingers. This is what starts to pull the fingers towards the palm, causing that claw-like appearance.
Most patients know it's time to give their doctor a call when they have difficulty grasping everyday objects. If you have trouble picking up your tools, there's a chance that Dupuytren's contracture is affecting you. People affected by this condition may even experience difficulty putting their hands in their pockets or placing their hands flat on a surface.
Although doctors don't know the exact cause of Dupuytren's contracture, they have noticed it seems to be hereditary. If someone in your family has a history of Dupuytren's contracture then it's a good idea for you to keep an eye on any symptoms that could show up in your hand.
Knowing someone in your family has problems with this hand condition means that you should never ignore any signs of Dupuytren's contracture in your hand. Many people make the mistake of ignoring the first signs because there wasn't any interference in their lifestyle. They weren't in pain, so they assumed it wouldn't be an issue. Ignoring these signs from the beginning is what leads the condition to get worse over time.
Family history isn't the only thing that can make a person likely to develop Dupuytren's contracture. These are a few other risk factors associated with the
While there isn't a cure for Dupuytren's contracture, there are ways that you can prevent this condition from making your life difficult. As mentioned earlier, upon first sign, always contact your doctor. When your doctor examines your hand for Dupuytren's contracture, they will also take measurements and get you to perform some tests.
Your doctor may recommend a series of hand exercises to help you prevent your hand contracture from getting worse. Many patients have been lucky enough not to need further treatment to keep their hands under control.
Continually monitor your hand and the thickened tissue. While hand exercises have been known to help prevent Dupuytren's contracture, they can't guarantee the condition will not get worse. If the condition does get worse, there are several treatment options available.
When performing a hand exercise, never force your fingers to move if they are too stiff or curled. This could cause the condition to get worse and leave you in a lot of pain.
Depending on the severity of a patient's condition, their doctor will recommend various forms of treatment. If a patient doesn't seek treatment, they may have extreme difficulty using their hands over time. This could lead to problems with their performance at work, along with many other potential complications.
The most common form of treatment for severe cases of Dupuytren's contracture is surgery. The surgeon will remove the affected cord from the hand, and after a few months of physiotherapy, the patient should be able to use their hand normally again. Although surgery is a more invasive form of treatment with a longer healing time, some people have to result to this as their last option.
Needle aponeurotomy is a less intimidating form of Dupuytren's treatment. The doctor will inject needles into the affected area to weaken the tissue.
Another common treatment method is enzyme injections. The doctor injects enzyme into the patient's affected area. This helps to numb the patient's hand and dissolve the thick band. Allowing the doctor to straighten the patient's hand and snap the cord that is pulling their fingers.
Needle aponeurotomy, enzyme injections, and surgery can all be beneficial for Dupuytren's contracture relief. Still, all come with their fair share of complications resulting in patients having to go back multiple times for treatment.