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Can Dupuytren's Contracture Be Cured?

October 14, 2020

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, become too difficult to complete. 

Dupuytren's contracture is a condition that affects a person's hand. This is caused by an abnormal thickening of the skin on the palm. It may even develop small painless lump. 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 their daily lifestyle rather difficult. Thiscondition 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 the patient's doctor may even be able to recommend hand exercises to prevent the dupuytren's contracture from affecting their life.

What Are The Symptoms Of Dupuytren's Contracture?

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 experiences lumps on their palm, they areusually painless but could be 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 hand in their pocket or placing their hand flat on a surface.

Who Is At Risk?

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 with 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. The worst mistake many patients made was 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 the signs from the beginning is what lead 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 condition:

  • Cigarette smoker
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Age 40 or over
  • Diabetes mellitus

Dupuytren's contracture is also more common in men than women and more likely to show up in people who are of European descent. If you feel that you may be at risk of dupuytren's contracture, you should contact your doctor to speak about treatment options before the problem escalates.

How To Prevent Dupuytren's Contracture?

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. It is important to keep in touch with your doctor so you can take more measurements and tests to compare your progress.

Your doctor may recommend a series of hand exercises to help you prevent the dupuytren's contracture from getting worse. Many patients have been lucky enough not to need further treatment to keep this hand condition under control. 

Always 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.

Treatment For Dupuytren's Contracture

Depending on the severity of a patient's condition, their doctor will recommend various forms of treatment. If a patient doesn't seek treatment, over time they may have extreme difficulty in using their hand or grasping certain objects. This could lead to problems with their performance at work along with other complications that they face because of this hand condition.

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, the results last for much longer than other options.

Needling is a less intimidating form of dupuytrens 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. This allows the doctor to straighten the patient's hand and snap the cord that is pulling their fingers. 

Both needling and enzyme injections can be very helpful for relief but the effects don't last as long as the surgery. This means that a patient may have to go back multiple times for more treatment. 


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