Dupuytren’s Contracture

In order to understand this condition, it is important to understand the anatomy and function of the wrist and hand. Please read Wrist Pain Info / Hand Pain Info’s sections on wrist anatomy and hand anatomy. For information on the biomechanics of the wrist and hand please read Wrist Pain Info / Hand Pain Info’s section on wrist and hand biomechanics.

What is Dupuytren’s contracture?

Dupuytren’s contracture is a thickening of the soft tissue (the palmar fascia) that lies just underneath the skin of the palm. This condition usually starts as a painless nodule in the palm and can progress to thick bands that extend into the fingers, most commonly the fourth and fifth fingers. These bands can cause the fingers to curl towards the palm. This is called a “contracture” of the fingers.

What does Dupuytren’s contracture feel like?

Dupuytren’s contracture usually progresses slowly. It may begin as a small tender lump in the palm. Over time the pain may go away but tough bands may form that cause the fingers to bend, drawing the fingers into the hand and interfering with hand function.

What causes Dupuytren’s contracture?

The cause of Dupuytren’s contracture is unknown. It tends to be more common in men than in women and it is more common in people over the age of 45. Some of the medical conditions that Dupuytren’s contracture may be associated with include: cigarette smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, epilepsy, and diabetes. Dupuytren’s contracture can also run in families.

Can Dupuytren’s contracture be detected on Xray?

Dupuytren’s contracture cannot be seen on an x-ray. Therefore, although x-rays are often done to rule out bone problems in individuals with Dupuytren’s contracture, these x-rays are usually normal.

What other information is available on Dupuytren’s contracture?

The diagnosis and treatment of Dupuytren’s contracture varies depending on the severity of the injury. Wrist Pain Info / Hand Pain Info’s links section has additional information on Dupuytren’s contracture. Links have been provided to other websites as well as online medical journals. Visit Joint Pain Info for information on other joint injuries and problems.