Similar to any other disease, Dupuytren’s also has various stages of progression. These stages develop slowly and may take years to reach the point of becoming problematic.
The abnormal production of scar tissue under the skin is how the disease begins.
With the passage of time, this same tissue starts shrinking which is where the ‘pulling’ sensation originates from.
It is necessary to pay attention to the ring finger as well as the pinky finger during this time. Both these fingers are more likely to be affected by the progression of Dupuytren’s disease.
In recent years, extensive research has allowed scientists to discover the various stages of Dupuytren’s disease. Still, there is a lot that remains a mystery.
There are three main stages:
This is known as the ‘early’ or ‘starting’ phase of Dupuytren’s disease.
In this early stage, the multiplication of myofibroblasts takes place. This multiplication leads to the formation of nodules that eventually lead to the formation of lumps.
In the beginning phases of Dupuytren’s disease, the lumps in the palm may burn and patients may even report slight pain. Doctors believe it develops when the nerves in the hand become compressed.
The next phase is when the disease actually begins to develop.
This is the phase where the condition begins to spread out towards the fingers. This spreading results in a cord-like structure.
The previously formed myofibroblasts begin to align and arrange themselves along the nodule formed before.
This is the ‘make or break’ point of the disease. For some people, the nodules will stay for a few weeks before disappearing. However, in more severe cases, the disease will progress to the next stage.
It is very important to seek help at this stage, otherwise the next stage may get triggered.
The last phase of Dupuytren’s disease is when an actual contracture can be felt in the palm.
The cord formed in the first stage gradually becomes tighter. This causes the fingers to pull inwards, which may be the first appearance of a serious problem.
Additionally, the myofibroblasts and the nodular tissue disappear, and only a thick layer of collagen is left behind.
These layers of collagen ultimately limit finger movement until consequently, the person is unable to move his or her hand and perform daily activities.
Although Dupuytren’s disease has various stages, studies show that not all cases of this disease are progressive. In fact, it was found that in 75% of the cases, the disease does not even reach the residual phase.
With proper care, the disease can remain without causing any harm to the patient.
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