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What Are The Symptoms Of Dupuytren's Contracture?

October 18, 2020

Dupuytren's contracture isn't a condition that is triggered by any act or accident in particular. It is a hand condition that gradually develops over the years. This condition affects a layer of tissues underneath the skin of the palm. As the dupuytren's contracture gets worse over time, it can lead to thefingers being pulled towards the palm.

When the condition gets to the point of fingers being bent, they can't be straightened to perform everyday activities. This leads patients to having difficulties with the most basic things, such as writing a note or opening a can of soda. Patients often get frustrated about the limitations they have with their fingers when this condition flares up. 

If a patient notices a case of dupuytren's contracture in their palm early enough and consults their doctor, there is usually no need for treatment in the future. The doctor will be able to recommend particular hand exercises and physiotherapy routines for the patient to follow.  This will keep the dupuytren's contracture from spreading to the fingers and causing the patient future difficulties with the use of their hand.

Unfortunately a lot of people ignore the first signs of dupuytren's contracture, which is why their condition gets worse over time. Even if it feels like the condition won't bother you, you should still consult a doctor if you have any symptoms in your hand. Early detection of dupuytren's contracture can make your future with the condition a lot smoother.

What Are The Symptoms Of Dupuytren's Contracture?

Since dupuytren's contracture develops over time, the symptoms show up in stages. If there is any history of dupuytren's contracture in your family then it is important that you keep a lookout for any signs of these symptoms in your hand.


Dupuytren's contracture starts with thickening of the skin on your palm. You may notice hard lumps on the skin as well. They might feel tender but usually do not cause any pain. For most patients the discomfort goes away on its own.

You may notice the skin on your palm looking as though it is puckered or even dimpled a bit. This is normal as the condition progresses.  


The next stage of dupuytren's contracture are the cords. The nodules that have developed from the condition start to form tough bands of tissue under your palm. As these bands form, they cause the fingers to stiffen and curl. This is what pulls the fingers towards the palm. 

When cords form they usually affect the fingers that are farthest away from the thumb. This results in the pinky and ring finger being the fingers that get pulled towards the palm. When the dupuytren's contracture patient gets to this stage, their hand starts to resemble a claw. This can be very severe in some patients. 


It is important to consult a doctor upon the first signs of dupuytren's contracture because this is the stage you don't want your condition to get to. As the cords form and the curling of the fingers gets worse, it becomes increasingly difficult to straighten the fingers. For some patients the condition becomes so severe that they can't straighten their fingers at all.

When the condition gets to thepoint of contracture, the patient is then unable to do things that the average person does every day of their life. This is when things like putting on gloves or getting your money out to pay for your lunch becomes too much to perform. When the condition gets to this point, the patient may require surgery.

What Causes Dupuytren's Contracture?

While the cause of dupuytren's contracture is still unknown to doctors, they have noticed that there are some biological and social factors that put patients at a higher risk of developing the hand condition.Males are more likely to have a severe case of dupuytren's contracture that leads to the contracture stage than females. It is also more common in people of Northern European descent. 

Smokers are at a higher risk for dupuytren's contracture. If you are looking for motivation to quit that toxic smoking habit, the thought of dupuytren's contracture should be enough! 

It seems like dupuytren's contracture has targeted people who like to party. If you consume alcohol often then you are also at a higher risk of seeing symptoms of dupuytren's contracture. Heavy alcohol consumption has been linked to numerous health problems, whenever you enjoy a night out try to drink responsibly.  

Patients of diabetes are at higher risk of seeing dupuytren's contracture's symptoms. People who are suffering from diabetes mellitus have less blood going to their hand, which is why the condition could be worse for them. 

Age is another factor in being a candidate for this hand condition. People over the age of 40 are more likely to have a severe case. Doctors have noticed that patients who come down with dupuytren's contracure early on in life have more severe cases when they are older if it was left untreated.

What To Do If You Have The Symptoms Of Dupuytren's Contracture?

If you notice that you have the starting symptoms of dupuytren's contracture you should always consult your doctor. Learn from the mistakes of those patients who had their condition gets worse because they thought it was no big deal. 

Your doctor will take measurements of your hand and get you to perform tests. While you do this, they will take notes so they can compare it with your later progress. It is the goal of the doctor to work with you in hopes of preventing the dupuytren's contracture from worsening.

Many patients have been able to go on without seeking additional treatment for their dupuytren's contracture. While sticking to the routine of hand exercises their doctor recommended, they were able to keep their condition's symptoms to a minimum. Since they were able to catch and control their condition early enough, this eliminated the need for treatments such as needling and surgery. 


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