Signs and Symptoms
Symptoms of Dupuytren’s contracture include:
- A lump or nodule appears on the palm, usually close to the base of the ring or little finger
- A thickened cord running along the palm to the fingers appears
- Over time, as the contracture develops, the fingers become clawed as they are pulled toward the palm
- The fingers are completely pulled against the palm and the hand bows
- Often the skin of the palm is dimpled and puckered
The exact trigger that causes the palmar fascia to thicken is unknown. Potential risk factors include manual labour with vibration exposure, prior hand trauma, smoking, hyperlipidemia, Peyronie’s disease and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). A family history of the condition is often present.
In most cases, doctors can diagnose Dupuytren’s contracture by the look and feel of your hands. Other tests are rarely necessary.
Your doctor will compare your hands to each other and check for puckering on the skin of your palms. He or she will also press on parts of your hands and fingers to check for toughened knots or bands of tissue.
Your doctor also might check to see if you can put your hand flat on a tabletop or other flat surface. Not being able to fully flatten your fingers indicates you have Dupuytren’s contracture.
Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. In its earlier stages, treatment may include cortisone injections to reduce localised tenderness, and these medications may also delay subsequent thickening of the tissue. Other treatments include therapy with calcium channel blockers, percutaneous needle fasciotomy, and in severe cases surgery.
After surgery, it may help to elevate your hand above your heart and gently move your fingers. This may help relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness.
You will be encouraged to return to your activities as soon as you can.