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How To Prevent Dupuytren's Contracture

October 17, 2020

Dupuytren's contracture is a condition that affects the movement of a patient's hand. When someone is affected by this condition their fingers will become stiff and pull towards the palm. They won't be able to straighten all of their fingers like they normally do.

This condition is caused when tissue forms under the skin on the palm of a person's hand. Quite often it will only affect an area on the palm, but when it spreads to the fingers. This could cause them to lose movement of the fingers when they are affected. Dupuytren's contracture usually affects the fingers farthest away from the thumb. 

Although dupuytren's contracture doesn't usually cause a patient pain, it does affect their everyday lifestyle. When a person can't move their hand or certain fingers they are unable to do the most basic things. They are unable to open a bottle of water or stir their own coffee. Dupuytren's contracture is a condition that affects a person's ability to perform important things they need to do in their lives. 

If dupuytren's contracture affect a person's writing hand they won't be able to fill out any paperwork or jot down notes when their condition flares up. Although that may not be physically painful for a person, it does set them back.

Who Is At Risk For Dupuytren's Contracture?

There are a few risk factors that make a person a candidate for dupuytren's contracture. While some are unavoidable, knowing about some of the factors that can put you at a higher risk could help you prevent dupuytren's contracture before it occurs.

Your Sex

Although women aren't immune to developing a case of dupuytren's contracture, men are more likely to suffer from it. A2009 study showed that men were six times more likely to have the condition than women. 

Your Age

As people get older their health decreases and they become more susectable to diseases. Getting older can make you more likely to be a candidate for dupuytren's contracture. The majority of people who suffer from dupuytren's contracture areabove the age of 40

Your Family History

Dupuytren's contracture is one disease that does judge a person by their heritage. People who are of European descent are more likely to suffer from this condition than people who are Asian or African. Being aware of your family's medical history can help you determine if you are a likely candidate for dupuytren's contracture before it starts to affect you.

Diabetes

Studies have shown that having diabetes makes a person more likely to suffer from dupuytren's contracture. Unfortunately, the longer a person has had diabetes, the more sever their case of dupuytren's contracture will be. 

Smoking and Drinking

While both are bad habits on their own, they can contribute to a person's case of dupuytren's contracture. Smoking is said to be a bit worse because it decreases your blood supply to the hand. 

Ways To Prevent Dupuytren's Contracture

The cause of dupuytren's contracture is still unknown at this point. What doctors have noticed is that it seems to affect families. If someone in your family has a history with dupuytren's contracture or you fit into any of the risk factor categories above then there is a good chance this condition could affect you in the future. 

Luckily, if you know what to look out for you can take action to prevent dupuytren's contracture from affecting your daily life. 

Symptoms of Dupuytren's Contracture

Knowing what symptoms to look out for can help you prevent this condition from getting worse in the future. Dupuytren's contracture gets worse slowly over the years. It usually starts off as underneath the skin of your palm, making it appear puckered. A firm lump could appear on the area as well and it will feel sensitive to touch.

If the condition gets worse, it will start to extend up to your fingers. This is why it's important to keep an eye out for your symptoms so you can prevent it from spreading to your fingers.

What To Do If You Think You Have Dupuytren's Contracture

The first thing you should do is consult your doctor. Many people think this is unnecessary if the condition isn't bothering them yet. This is wrong. The best way to prevent dupuytren's contracture is to treat it before it has a chance to get worse. 

If you find a tender lump or nodule on your palm then that is a sign that you need to see a physician.  This could also include painless lumps, pits, or cords of tissue. Some signs that your condition could be getting worse are fingers curling towards your palm and the inability to straighten them. If things get out of control, you could find yourself having trouble putting on your gloves or getting money out of your wallet.

Your doctor will be able to analyze your hand and get you to perform a series of tests to see what you are capable of doing. One of these tests is a tabletop test where they get you to flatten your hand on a flat surface. Your doctor will record your measurements and test results in order to compare them with your future results. This will help them determine how your progression is doing.

Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may suggest additional treatment such as:

  • Surgery
  • Enzyme injections
  • Needling
  • Radiation therapy
  • Steroid shots

If you catch your symptoms early enough, you and your doctor may be able to prevent the affects caused by dupuytren's contracture. 

How To Prevent Dupuytren's Contracture At Home

The first thing you should always do is follow your doctor's recommendations. To have your hand working in it's best shape you should always do the excercises your doctor advises. They may even recommend additional physiotherapy or occupational therapy.

To help reduce the tightness in your affected hand you should gently massage it twice a day. Try to stretch your fingers back to reduce tightness and improve flexibility. 

One more thing to keep in mind to prevent dupuytren's contracture is to make sure you don't grasp anything too tightly. Avoid keeping your fingers curled for longer periods of time. 

 


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