Similar to any other disease, Dupuytren’s has various stages of progression. These stages develop slowly and may take years to cause concern. The disease begins as an excess of scar tissue under the skin on the palm. As time goes on, this tissue shrinks and causes a pulling sensation in the hand.
It is necessary to pay attention to the ring finger as well as the pinky finger during this time. That's because these are the two fingers most likely to be affected by Dupuytren’s disease.
In recent years, researchers have become more aware of the stages associated with Dupuytren’s disease. Still, there is a lot about this condition that remains a mystery. What we do know is that there are three main stages:
This is known as the early/starting phase of Dupuytren’s disease. In this stage, the multiplication of myofibroblasts takes place. This leads to the formation of nodules that eventually become lumps.
In the beginning phases of Dupuytren’s disease, these lumps may burn and even cause slight pain. Doctors believe this occurs when the nerves in the hand are compressed.
The next phase is when the disease actually begins to develop and symptoms begin to spread out towards the fingers. This spreading results in a cord-like structure taking over.
The myofibroblasts that were previously formed begin to align and arrange themselves along the nodules that developed before. This is the make of break point of the disease disease since some nodules only stay for a few weeks before disappearing. However, in more severe cases, the disease will progress to the next stage and they will worsen. It is very important to seek help at this stage, otherwise you may experience much more discomfort.
The last phase of Dupuytren’s disease is characterized by being able to feel their contractures in the hand. The cord formed in the first stage will gradually become tighter. This causes the fingers to pull inwards, which may be the first appearance of a serious problem.
Additionally, the myofibroblasts and nodular tissue disappear, leaving only a thick layer of collagen. These layers of collagen ultimately limit finger movement until the person is unable to move their 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, around 75% of the cases don't even reach the residual phase. With proper care, the disease can remain as-is without causing any harm to the patient.