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Does Stretching Help Dupuytren's?

January 25, 2021

There are many therapeutic treatments for Dupuytren's Contracture. It is often recommended that people utilize multiple treatments for the alleviation of their symptoms. On this page, we want to focus on just one of these therapeutic treatments. This is the idea of stretching your fingers and the palm of your hand. We want to talk about whether it will have any impact on the progression of your condition. We also wish to provide you with a few different tips that you can use when you are stretching your hands.

Remember, stretching is one of the only Dupuytren's treatment that will not require any cash outlay. You could start today if you wish. However, it is not wise to use stretching alone. There are some people that may combine their stretching withnon-invasive treatments such as Dupuytren's Contracture cream. A combination of treatments will have the greatest chance of success when it comes to dealing with the condition.

Does Stretching Help Dupuytren's?

Yes. Studies do seem to indicate that stretching can help to restore limited finger mobility in those that are suffering from Dupuytren's Contracture. 

One study foundthat, in combination with massage, there was a significant improvement in finger mobility, and even a reduction in the signs of nodules on the palm of the hand. Although, it is likely that the latter is caused by the massaging as opposed to the stretching of the fingers.

As we will discuss shortly, stretching is not going to be a cure for Dupuytren's. Instead, it is going to provide a temporary relief from symptoms. It may also help to slow down the progression of the condition, assuming that it is used alongside other preventative therapies. 

Why Does Stretching Help Dupuytren's Contracture?

As you may know, Dupuytren's Contracture is the name given to the condition where the palmar fascia tissue that rests under the palm of the hand starts to harden up. While the palmar fascia tissue's main job is to help protect tendons, muscles, and pretty much anything below the skin, it is also known to give humans their superior grip strength. If the palmar fascia is hard, our grip strength becomes awful. This is one of the main issues many of the later stage sufferers of Dupuytren's contracture have to deal with. The curving of the fingers is more of a secondary issue here.

Now, this palmar fascia tissue is a connective tissue. It is meant to be flexible in order to ensure that everything can move around a little bit. As the palmar fascia tissue starts to harden, it tightens up. This is what causes the contracture of the fingers. 

By stretching, you are essentially elongating this connective tissue. So, all of that tissue that has been 'pulled in' due to the hardening of the palmar fascia will be stretched out ever so slightly. This means that the fingers will have a small amount of extra freedom of movement as there isn't something pulling quite so hard on them. 

In serious cases of Dupuytren's Contracture, stretching will only provide temporary relief. Eventually, everything will be pulled back in, and the fingers will lose that loose and flexible feeling. Many people with serious cases of Dupuytren's will be stretching multiple times per day just so that they can retain the use of their hands.

Will Stretching The Fingers Slow the Progression of Dupuytren's Contracture?

Unlike other therapeutic treatments, there seems to be no evidence that Dupuytren's Contracture will slow down the progression of the condition. Although, this would be a very hard thing to test. This is because the disease progresses at different rates in people. In some, the condition can be rapid and cause serious finger conjecture in a few months. In most, it could take years and years for that to happen. Along the way, people will be using a multitude of different therapeutic treatments. Nobody is going to be stretching alone. This means that it is unlikely that we will ever get an answer to this question.

What we can tell you, however, is that stretching will at least help to limber up the fingers and the palm. Some people report that they also have increased grip strength for a short while after stretching. This makes sense due to the job of the palmar fascia tissue.

In our opinion, we do believe that you should be stretching. It may not be slowing down the progression of the condition, but it will almost certainly be making your life a little bit easier to live.

How Do You Stretch to Relieve Dupuytren's Contracture?

Before we talk about some stretches for Dupuytren's Contracture, we do want to point out that these stretches are only going to work once the condition has progressed to the stage where the fingers can quite lay flat on the table. There is no sense in stretching when the condition is only at the stage where there are small nodules on the palm of the hand. Since stretching won't slow down the progression of the disease, it won't do anything for you here. In fact, very few treatments are effective in the early stages of progression.

Because the one study that looked into the benefits of stretching of the fingers also involved the palm and fingers being massaged, we suggest that you do this too. Just a gentle massage that will help to relieve your soreness. If you can, you may also wish to use a bit of heat therapy at this stage. This is a treatment that is known to help with Dupuytren's Contracture, and it will also loosen up the area a little bit more which should make those stretches easier.

Massaging your palms should be simple. You can use your other hand to do this or, if that is also suffering from the condition, ask somebody to help. You can use massage oils if you wish. Just gently move the massaging fingers in a motion towards the heart. Part of the massage is to increase circulation in the area, so never massage away from the heart. It could cause more issues. A small amount of pressure will need to be applied, but not too much or it could make the symptoms worse.

Finally, it is important that you do not overstretch yourself here. There is the small potential to aggravate the Dupuytren's Contracture and cause temporary pain. You may also end up irritating the palmar fascia. Neither will be a pleasant experience. So, when you do be gentle. You should be feeling a light stretch and nothing more. This isn't like stretching any of the other parts of your body. The palmar fascia is a lot more delicate than your muscles, particularly when the tissue has hardened. 

We want to discuss three different stretches with you. If you have a serious case of Dupuyfren's Contracture, then you will want to talk to your physiotherapist or doctor first. They can give you advice on whether stretching may be beneficial for you. If it is, then they may be able to provide you with stretches that may be better suited to your situation.

Stretch 1

The simplest stretch is to hold your hand up in front of you, almost as if you are waving to somebody. Now, spread your fingers apart. Hold the stretch for fifteen seconds, and then release. You can repeat this 5-10 times. You probably will not feel a stretch here, but it is going to be a great way to be warming up the area.

Stretch 2

The second stretch may cause a small amount of pain for some people. This is particularly true if you are already suffering from a serious case of Dupuytren's. 

The idea is that you go through each finger, pushing it back slightly with your other hand. You should feel the smallest of stretches when you do this. As we said, it is vital that you do not overstretch here. If you experience any discomfort, then you should be stopping immediately.

Stretch 3

The final stretch will involve you placing your hand palm down on a flat surface. This may not work for those with late-stage Dupuytren's. It doesn't matter if you cannot get your fingers completely flat, but you should be able to get close.

Once you are in position, gently raise your palm. The fingers should remain firmly on the table, while the palm should be completely off of the table. You should feel a slight stretch at the base of the fingers. This stretch may also be felt in the palm.

Hold this position for fifteen seconds before resting. You can repeat a few more times.


Stretching can help with Dupuytren's Contracture. While it will not slow down the progression of the condition, there is evidence that it can provide relief for those that have limited mobility in their fingers. Stretching works especially well when it is combined with a hot massage. You should be combining stretching with other therapeutic treatments. 

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