Dupuytren's Contracture

Dupuytren's contracture is a condition that affects the hand, causing thickening and tightening of the tissue beneath the skin of the palm and fingers.

Dupuytren's Contracture
Dupuytren's Contracture
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Your Guide to Understanding Dupuytren's Contracture

What is Dupuytren's Contracture?

Dupuytren's contracture is a condition that primarily affects the hand, causing the tissue beneath the skin of the palm and fingers to thicken and tighten. It is named after Baron Guillaume Dupuytren, a French surgeon who first described the condition in 1831. Though the exact cause of Dupuytren's contracture is unknown, it is believed to be influenced by genetic factors and certain lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption.

The hallmark symptom of Dupuytren's contracture is the development of nodules or lumps in the palm. These nodules are composed of excessive collagen, a protein that forms connective tissue in our bodies. Over time, these nodules can progress and form bands of thickened tissue called cords. These cords extend from the palm towards the fingers, resulting in the fingers being pulled towards the palm and limiting their movement. The ring finger and little finger are most commonly affected, but other fingers can also be involved.

How can Chiropractic help treat Dupuytren's Contracture?

Chiropractic services can offer supportive care for individuals with Dupuytren's Contracture, a condition where the connective tissue in the palm and fingers becomes thickened and forms nodules or cords. While chiropractors cannot reverse or cure Dupuytren's Contracture, they can help alleviate associated symptoms and improve hand function. C

hiropractic adjustments can address any joint restrictions in the affected hand, promoting better mobility and reducing discomfort. In addition, chiropractors may utilize soft tissue techniques, such as myofascial release or trigger point therapy, to help improve flexibility and reduce tension in the hand and surrounding muscles. By providing holistic care, chiropractic services can complement other treatment methods for Dupuytren's Contracture, offering relief and enhancing overall well-being.

What causes Dupuytren's Contracture?

The exact cause of Dupuytren's contracture is not fully understood, but it is believed to be influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic component. Certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking and heavy alcohol consumption, have also been associated with an increased risk of developing the condition.

Dupuytren's contracture involves the thickening and tightening of the tissue beneath the skin in the palm and fingers. Over time, nodules or lumps form in the palm, composed of excessive collagen. These nodules can progress into bands of thickened tissue called cords, which extend from the palm towards the fingers.

While the exact trigger for the development of Dupuytren's contracture is unknown, it is thought that a combination of genetic predisposition and environmental factors may lead to an overproduction of collagen in the palms and fingers. This excess collagen causes the tissue to become thickened and contracted, eventually resulting in the characteristic finger bending and restricted hand movement seen in Dupuytren's contracture.

What treatments might help Dupuytren's Contracture?

Treatment options for Dupuytren's contracture aim to improve symptoms and functionality, as there is currently no cure for the condition. Here are some ways in which treatment can help improve Dupuytren's contracture:

  • Relief from symptoms: Treatment can provide relief from symptoms such as pain, discomfort, and stiffness associated with Dupuytren's contracture.
  • Improved hand function: By addressing the contractures and limited mobility caused by the condition, treatment can help improve hand function. This can make it easier to perform daily tasks and maintain independence.
  • Preventing progression: Treatment can help slow down the progression of Dupuytren's contracture and prevent further finger bending and hand deformity.
  • Non-surgical approaches: Nonsurgical treatments, such as physical therapy, splinting, and medication, can be used to manage symptoms and improve hand function without invasive procedures.
  • Surgical interventions: In some cases, surgical procedures may be recommended to release the contracted tissue and restore finger movement. Surgery aims to improve hand function and alleviate functional limitations caused by Dupuytren's contracture.

Signs of Dupuytren's Contracture:

Dupuytren's contracture is a condition that primarily affects the hands and fingers. Here are some common signs and symptoms to look out for:

  • Thickened skin: One of the early signs of Dupuytren's contracture is the development of thickened skin or nodules in the palm of the hand. These lumps may feel firm or tender to the touch.
  • Finger bending: As the condition progresses, you may notice that one or more fingers begin to bend inward towards the palm. This bending typically affects the ring finger and pinky finger, but it can also involve other fingers to varying degrees.
  • Difficulty straightening fingers: Over time, the bending of the affected fingers can become more pronounced, making it challenging to fully extend or straighten them.
  • Hand stiffness: Dupuytren's contracture can cause stiffness and limited mobility in the hand and fingers. This can make it difficult to perform tasks that require fine motor skills, such as gripping objects or picking up small items.
  • Progression: The condition may progress slowly, with the symptoms worsening over months or years. In some cases, the progression may be more rapid, leading to more severe contractures.

Symptoms of Dupuytren's Contracture:

Dupuytren's contracture is a condition that affects the hands and fingers. Here are some common symptoms to look out for:

  • Formation of nodules or lumps: One of the early signs of Dupuytren's contracture is the development of small, firm nodules or lumps beneath the skin in the palm of the hand. These nodules may be tender or painless.
  • Thickening of the skin: As the condition progresses, the skin in the palm can become thickened and may appear puckered or dimpled.
  • Finger bending: The most noticeable symptom of Dupuytren's contracture is the gradual bending of one or more fingers towards the palm. This bending often affects the ring finger and pinky finger, but it can also involve the middle finger.
  • Difficulty straightening fingers: Over time, the bent fingers may become increasingly difficult to straighten fully. This can restrict hand movement and make it challenging to perform certain activities, such as grasping objects or shaking hands.
  • Hand stiffness: Dupuytren's contracture can lead to stiffness in the hand, making it harder to move the fingers freely. This stiffness may be more pronounced in the morning or after periods of inactivity.
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When is the right time to see a Chiropractor for Dupuytren's Contracture?

It is recommended to see a chiropractor for Dupuytren's contracture when you are experiencing symptoms that affect your hand and wrist function or if you have concerns about the condition. Here are some indications that it may be the right time to seek their expertise:

  • Functional limitations: If you are finding it difficult to perform everyday activities due to restricted hand movement, such as difficulty gripping objects or trouble with daily tasks, it may be beneficial to consult with a healthcare professional.
  • Pain or discomfort: If you are experiencing pain, stiffness, or discomfort in your hand or wrist related to Dupuytren's contracture, seeking the assistance of a chiropractor, physiotherapist, or naturopath may help alleviate these symptoms and improve your quality of life.
  • Progression of symptoms: If you notice that your Dupuytren's contracture is worsening over time, with increased finger bending or greater functional limitations, it is advisable to seek professional guidance to assess the severity of the condition and explore appropriate treatment options.
  • Personal preference for complementary therapies: If you prefer a holistic approach to healthcare or are interested in natural therapies, consulting with a naturopath may provide you with additional options for managing Dupuytren's contracture symptoms.

Meet our Lead Chiropractor

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Dr. Brett Herlehy

Chiropractor

Doctor of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College

Dr. Brett enjoys working with active individuals looking to reach the next level and also anyone who is trying to incorporate more physical activity into their daily lives.

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