Dupuytren’s contracture is a disease that causes the shortening and thickening of a web of connective tissue called palmar fascia that extends across the palm of the hand to the fingers. This tissue immobilises the skin on the palm of the hand which allows us to grip. When this disease develops it causes the fingers to be pulled in towards the palm and become clawed. Usually it is only the ring finger and the little finger that are affected, but sometimes any or all fingers may be impaired.
The exact cause of the condition is unknown but the incidence of the disease is generally more prevalent in people with diabetes, older men, people who abuse alcohol and people who are taking anti-epileptic medication. It can also run in families particularly those of Celtic and Northern European ancestry.
The symptoms include nodules that can appear on the palm of the hand and a thickened cord of tissue that runs along the palm to the fingers. Over time the fingers constrict into claws. Corticosteroid injections can be administered in the early stages of Dupuytren’s Contracture but when the hands are no longer functional surgery is usually the best option to alleviate the condition.
There are a number of surgery options and Dr Vlad will discuss these with you prior to any surgery taking place. Occupational therapy will be necessary after surgery and this can also be discussed with Dr Vlad at your initial consultation.