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Can You Get Dupuytren's Contracture In Your Feet?

by Logan Williams December 13, 2020

Anyone who has Dupuytren's contracture can tell you just how uncomfortable this condition is. Duputyren's contracture disease usually occurs in a person's hand. Unusual thickening of the tissues under the skin of the palm occurs, which then develops into a lump or thick band.

When this occurs, it becomes very difficult for a person suffering from the condition to move their fingers furthest from the thumb. However, your hand isn't the only place where Dupuytren's contracture can occur. Another area where Dupuytren's contracture disease can develop is in a person's feet.

Dupuytren's contracture in the feet is referred to as Ledderhose disease. However, you may also hear people refer to it as Dupuytren's of the feet or plantar fibromatosis. Whichever name you choose to call it, this condition is extremely uncomfortable and has even affected some patients' ability to walk. 

What Is Ledderhose Disease? 

Ledderhose disease was first diagnosed in 1894. It was named after Dr. George Ledderhose, who was the first doctor to describe the condition. It is a rare condition, but when it occurs in a patient it can affect their daily lifestyle.

Ledderhose disease occurs in nearly the exact same fashion as Dupuytren's, hence why so many people refer to it as Dupuytren's of the feet. This uncomfortable condition builds up in the tissue right under the skin of the foot. As the condition worsens, hard lumps will begin to form along the plantar fascia under the bottom of the foot.

The plantar fascia is a band of tissue that connects a person's heel bone to their toes. Once the lumps form, it can be very uncomfortable for the person who is affected to walk around. As the condition worsens, it could prevent the patient from participating in physical activities. 

While many people worry upon first sight of a lump in your body, these lumps are not associated with any illness. They are not cancerous like many people assume at first. However, this condition is related to other connective tissue conditions. If a person has ledderhose disease then they are likely to get Dupuytren's contracture of the hand as well. 

Most of the patients who suffer from Ledderhose disease are middle-aged or seniors, but it can still affect younger people. Ledderhose can develop at any age.  



Symptoms Of Ledderhose Disease

Most patients don't notice Ledderhose disease has occurred until the lumps are present on the bottom of their feet. These lumps can occur on either one or both of a person's feet. They usually notice when it starts to become uncomfortable as they take steps. 

When someone has Dupuytren's contracture in their hand, once the condition gets really bad, it starts to pull the patient's finger furthest from the thumb towards the palm. The thickened tissue under the skin of a person's foot may pull back their toes, but this is very rare and doesn't occur often.

However, there are a few other signs that your feet may give you that Ledderhose disease has developed. These signs could include tightening of the skin on the sole of your affected foot or even a slight pain in the joints of your foot and ankle. In some cases, there is even an occurrence of a tingling sensation, similar to pins and needles.

What Causes Ledderhose Disease? 

When the connective tissue under the bottom of your foot begins to thicken, it causes the lumps to form on your foot. The exact cause of Ledderhose disease is still unknown, but it has shown up mostly in patients who suffer from other types of connective tissues disease. Over half of Ledderhose disease patients already had Dupuytren's contracture in one of their hands.

While people of all ages, genders and environmental backgrounds are at risk of the disease, it seems to mostly occur in males over the age of 40. 

There are a few other aspects that could play a part in the development of ledderhose disease in a patient. Some of these include:

  • Diabetes
  • Chronic Liver Disease
  • Several Injuries To The Same Foot
  • Epilepsy Medication
  • Reactions To Certain Medications
  • Heavy Alcohol Consumption

One night of heavy partying shouldn't be a factor in the development of Ledderhose, but having several alcoholic beverages every day over some time could play a part in triggering Ledderhose disease. 

How To Make Living With Ledderhose Disease More Comfortable

Living with a connective tissue disease of any sort can make life very irritating. Your everyday activities now seem like chores that you're likely in too much pain to even consider. Although you may not be able to completely get rid of the condition, there are certain things you can do to make living with Ledderhose disease a little less painful.

One simple fix solution is to purchase some high-quality and soft inserts for your shoes. Before you put these inserts in your shoes, you should cut out a hole where the lump is. This will help relieve the pressure around any lumps while padding your feet, making it more comfortable to walk around. 

When you're relaxing, it's a good idea to give your affected foot some extra care. Do some gentle stretches. This will help the affected area get used to the movement, so it won't be as painful when you are required to move it. If the condition has flared up, you can soothe it by massaging the affected area or icing the bottom of your foot.

How To Treat Ledderhose Disease Medically

While the above solutions may be helpful for patients who discovered Ledderhose early enough, those who have been suffering from Ledderhose disease for longer may need extra help for pain relief.

There are various Dupuytren's Contracture foot treatment options available, including over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or anti-inflammatory drugs that can provide temporary relief when pain and swelling occurs.



If the pain has progressed and you can no longer bear it, physical therapy may be needed. A physical therapist can show you the correct stretching and exercises for relieving the pain of Ledderhose disease. They know the proper type of foot massages to help you get on the right track to feeling better again. They may even give you splints to help relieve the lump.

If the pain gets really bad, they may recommend a steroid injection. The steroid medicine is used to relieve the pain in your foot and help aid inflammation. Usually, a patient will receive 3 to 5 injections, each being 4 to 6 weeks apart. The amount they receive depends on how severe their condition is. 

Another newer method of treating Ledderhose disease is through collagenase enzyme injections. They are used to help break down the thickened tissues that cause the patient pain. This injection is getting a good reputation for helping patients with Ledderhose and Dupuytren's contracture disease. 

Does Ledderhose Disease Ever Require Surgery?

If the pain experienced from Ledderhose disease becomes too much to handle and the patient doesn't get any relief from the above methods, their doctor may recommend surgery. There are two types of surgeries they may recommend: 

  • Fasciectomy
  • Cryosurgery

Fasciectomy is generally the first surgery that they will suggest. This procedure involves removing the affected tissue from your foot. Depending on how severe the condition is, they will either remove just a section of the thickened tissue or all of it. Patients are always left with scars from this surgery.

This surgery has helped a lot of patients get back to a normal lifestyle. However, it doesn't completely cure them of Ledderhose disease. The condition can come back at any time. To prevent the condition from coming back after fasciectomy surgery, doctors often recommend radiation treatment for Ledderhose.

Cryosurgery involves the doctor inserting very cold probes into the lumps on the patient's foot. This process freezes and kills off the extra tissue that is causing pain. 

Prevention Of Ledderhose Disease

There is very little information known about what causes Ledderhose, making it difficult to suggest ways to prevent it from occurring. We are aware that a lifestyle that includes heavy alcohol consumption can induce Ledderhose to flare up. To avoid this from happening, stick to drinking in moderation. 

What Are The Complications That Ledderhose Disease Could Cause

Ledderhose disease isn't associated with causing problems or being linked to illnesses. However, the condition does often get worse over time, especially if left ignored. There have been cases where the pain became so severe that the patient had difficulty standing on their affected foot, but these are rare.

Nearly 25 percent of patients are unlucky enough to suffer from this condition in both of their feet. When the pain becomes intolerable, they will often arrange to have surgery on their foot. This could leave them with painful cuts and scars, and they may even have difficulty putting on shoes for a while after surgery.

In severe cases, there have been patients who suffered from an infection after they had surgery. This is why it's essential to make sure you relax and try to stay off of your feet after surgery. Attempting to force yourself to move around or put a shoe on before you're ready could cause problems.