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Does Stretching Help Dupuytren's Contracture?

March 18, 2021

Those who suffer fromDupuytren's Contracture seek relief in several ways ranging from topical creams to surgery. The effectiveness of these potential remedies depends on different factors, the most important of which may be how far the disease has progressed.


People afflicted with this progressive, hand-deforming condition will be pleased to read that they can often help address their ailment with some simple stretching exercises during the early stages of the progression of Dupuytren's Contracture.


Do stretching exercises cure Dupuytren's?

It is unfortunate that there is no way to reverse or cureDupuytren's. The bright light here is that although you can't stop or reverse its progression, it progresses very slowly. Consequently, most of those afflicted don't require anything as dramatic as surgery and are often able to get by with any number of home remedies, including stretching exercises.


Are stretching exercises painful?

Stretching exercises related to relieving Dupuytren's should not be painful.

A good rule of thumb is to halt any exercise that causes pain because pain is an indicator that you are pushing yourself too hard. This can do more harm than good, so take it easy. Stretching exercises are intended to help you manage your condition by easing any associated discomfort. 


How often should I do stretching exercises for Dupuytren's?

Bearing in mind that you never want to cause pain by going too hard on yourself, you can do stretching exercises several times every day if you are so inclined. You are in charge here, so consider establishing a regular routine that works best for you and your lifestyle.


What stretching exercises help Dupuytren's?

Here are a few stretching exercises that you may find useful:

  • Spreading your fingers. Place your palm flat on a flat, solid surface. Spread your fingers wide like a fan and then draw them back together. Stretch them as far as is comfortable - you will be able to stretch farther the more you do this. Repeat several times.
  • Lifting your fingers. Place your palm flat against a flat, solid surface. Lift one finger and hold it up for a few seconds. Put that finger down. Now lift the next finger for a few seconds. Move along your hand from finger to finger, to get a good stretch for each one. Repeat as many times as is comfortable.
  • Bending your fingers. Hold your hands out in front of you. Now bend the first two joints of your fingers, hold them there for a few seconds, and then straighten them out. Repeat this as many times as is comfortable.
  • Working your thumb. Touch your thumb to the tip of each of your fingers, one after the other. Repeat several times.
  • Raising your palm. This is a variation of lifting your fingers. Place your hand flat against a solid, flat surface. Keep your fingers flat on the surface as you slowly lift your palm. Hold it for a few seconds, and then slowly lower it to the surface. Do this several times, as long as you are comfortable.
  • Pressing your hands together. For this exercise, place your hands together in a praying position. Now press them together while exerting as much pressure as is comfortable. Keep pressing for a few seconds and then release. Repeat as many times as is comfortable for you.

Dupuytren's is a progressive disease. If you have already begun to experience some contracture, some of these stretching exercises may be difficult. You can also use your other hand to gently straighten a contracted finger. Hold it straight for a few seconds and then release. You can repeat this, too, as long as it is comfortable to do so.


What else can I do to help with Dupuytren's?

Here are some other things that you can do that will help you manage Dupuytren's:

  • Gripping exercises. It is never recommended that you do any high-pressure gripping if you have Dupuytren's, but you can do some simple gripping exercises involving the gripping motion. Practice picking up things that are shaped differently and that are of different sizes - this will help maintain your dexterity. Some prefer grabbing soft objects like a towel, too.
  • Hand massages. You can do this yourself or have someone else do it for you. An effective massage involves gently rubbing the area around the hardened area on your palm and then working up the length of your finger.
  • Applying heat. It may be beneficial to give your hand a nice hot-water soak or to apply a heating pad.
  • Applying topical treatments. It is often helpful in managing your Dupuytren's to apply ananti-inflammatory Dupuytren cream or ointment.

Can my diet affect Dupuytren's?

Anything you can do to reduce inflammation can be helpful. It is always a good idea to add more green leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts, and fatty fish to your diet because these types of food help fight inflammation.


What is Dupuytren's Contracture?

Dupuytren's Disease is commonly called Dupuytren's Contracture.

Nobody knows the origin of Dupuytren's and there is no known cure for it. Dupuytren's is a progressive disease, which means that it slowly gets worse over time. In its advanced stage, Dupuytren's causes your fingers - most commonly your little finger, and ring finger, but sometimes also your thumb - to involuntarily bend inward toward your palm. When this happens, it's called a flexion contracture.


Contracture occurs because an excessive amount of college builds up in your Palma fascia, which is the fibrous connective tissue that anchors and stabilizes the skin in your palm so that it isn't loose like the skin on the top of your hand and thereby helps enable people to grip things. 


How does Dupuytren's progress?

Dupuytren's progresses very slowly. Home remedies like hand and finger stretches, heat treatments, and topical applications suffice for about 80% of sufferers. The remaining 20% who may require professional medical treatment are usually older because the need for treatment advances only 20% to 40% each decade after the appearance of the first lump.


The first sign may be the development of a small, hard lump (nodule) on your palm, usually around the area where the bottoms of your fingers attach to your palm. Sometimes there can be more than one lump or additional lumps might appear with time. These lumps are usually not painful, although they may be a little sensitive.


As collagen levels increase, the Palma facia starts to thicken. When this happens, a thick, raised band that looks like a cord runs from your palm and up to one or more of your finders. As the disease progresses, this cord becomes taut and causes your affected fingers to involuntarily bend inward toward your palm to the extent that you have difficulty straightening the finer. At advanced stages, you can't.


Who is most at risk for Dupuytren's?

The number of people who get Dupuytren's is relatively small - about 15 million. Here are six characteristics of those who are most at risk:

  • Age. Dupuytren's can strike at any age, but most victims are 45-50 years old or older.
  • Gender. Men are much more likely than women to get Dupuytren's.
  • Genes. Nobody knows the origins of Dupuytren's but most cases are hereditary. Don't worry just because Dupuytren's has appeared in your family, though, because it often skips generations.
  • Ancestry. People of Scandinavian or Northern European descent could be at higher risk.
  • Health. People with diabetes are at greater risk, as are people who have epilepsy and are taking anti-seizure medications.
  • Habits. People may be at greater risk if they smoke or abuse alcohol.

What are the signs of Dupuytren's Contracture?

You should always depend on your doctor's diagnosis to determine if you have Dupuytren's because a lot of the symptoms mirror other medical diseases or conditions. There are some things you can look for at home:

  • The appearance of a small, slightly tender lump or two on your palm.
  • The lump or lumps slowly grow harder or the skin around them starts to pit because it's being pulled
  • Thick cords appear and travel from your palm up one or more of your fingers.
  • You can't quite lay your palm or fingers flat, palm down, on a surface like a table.
  • One or more of your fingers have started to bend inward toward your palm, or have started bending outward.
  • Your hand just isn't working as well as usual when you try to grab things.

Is treatment necessary for Dupuytren's?

Your doctor is your best source of advice, but most people don't require treatment beyond the home remedies mentioned earlier. If treatment is needed, it usually involves one or more of these three procedures:

  1. Enzyme injections to break down the hardened tissue and dissolve the thickened cord.
  2. Needling to break up and separate the hardened cord.
  3. Surgery to remove the affected tissue.

Conclusion

A regular regimen of hand stretches is an effective home remedy for managing Dupuytren's Contracture. They can't cure or completely halt the disease's progression, but they can increase your comfort and help you deal with it.


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