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By Brittany Ferri June 14, 2020

The topic of this article may surprise some readers since we hardly ever hear about the different types of Dupuytren’s contracture. In fact, many people aren't even aware that there are various types of this condition. It's true that experts believe Dupuytren’s exists in more than one form. 

The lack of knowledge about these components of the disorder stems from very few people developing contractures that worsen to the point of bent fingers.

What's even more shocking is that diabetic patients (those who do not even have Dupuytren's) often show more signs of contractures than people with this condition do. This is what led researchers to hypothesize the possibility of differentsubgroups within Dupuytren’s disease. We will offer an overview of these subgroups and what people can expect under each category.

Dupuytren’s Disease Type 1

This type is far more aggressive than the other types. Type 1 commonly develops in people who are younger, typically those under the age of 50. The characteristics associated with this type are:

  • A higher risk of symptoms developing into contracture(s)
  • Greater likelihood of recurrence, even after treatment
  • A known link between co-occurring conditions that affect body parts outside of the hands, including Ledderhose disease 
  • Occurs more often in people with a family history of Dupuytren’s disease

This type was previously called Dupuytren’s Diathesis, since it results from a strong genetic predisposition to the condition. Experts believe that this once referred to the aggressive genetic factor present in this type, in addition to some other genes that may cause symptoms to develop. Luckily, this type of Dupuytren's is relatively rare and only affects 3% of all patients diagnosed with Dupuytren’s disease. 

Dupuytren’s Disease Type 2

This type has been found to be much less aggressive than the previous one. Type 2 usually develops in people who are over 50 years of age, which can explain why symptoms are more mild, since they have not had as much time to develop. Here are some of the main characteristics of Type 2 Dupuytren's:

  • Rarely progresses to the point of developing contractures
  • Far less likely to experience a recurrence of symptoms after treatment
  • Not connected to other similar diseases of the palm and fingers
  • Has no known genetic connection, meaning someone with a family history of Type 2 Dupuytren's is not likely to inherit the condition

This type is accelerated or becomes more apparent in people who also suffer from diabetes or other medical issues. People who are laborers or have jobs that require heavy use of the hands are more likely to report this condition.

Dupuytren’s Disease Type 3

Unlike other subtypes of Dupuytren's, there is no specific age that Type 3 is more likely to occur at. This is also far less complicated than the other types of Dupuytren's. Some of the main features of this form of the disease include:

  • No link between Type 3 and a person’s ancestry, so someone with a family history of Dupuytren's is not at risk for developing it themselves
  • Never transforms into or causes any type of contracture

This type of the disease is not genetic and it rarely shows symptoms, so many people with Type 3 Dupuytren's may not even experience pain or difficulty using their hands on a daily basis. It is important to note that the profiles for each of these types are purely based on existing research that has been conducted by experts. Since research occurs on an ongoing basis, we cannot be absolutely certain that other types of this disease will not be found over time.

Individuals with the rarer and more severe types of Dupuytren's may benefit from interventions such as surgery. But, in most cases, this is not even a guarantee of symptom relief. Individuals with any stage of Dupuytren's can benefit from all natural approaches such as anti-inflammatory contracture cream.

Brittany Ferri
Brittany Ferri

Brittany is a registered and licensed occupational therapist who has 6 years of clinical experience treating conditions such as Dupuytren's, arthritis, carpal tunnel, and more. She is passionate about educating others about their health.