Dupuytren's contracture is a disease in which the layer of tissue under the skin is affected leading to the formation of knots of tissue under the skin of the palm.
These knots may eventually form thick cords that can pull one or more fingers towards the palm. This hand deformity usually develops over a period of years.
Performing certain daily activities such as placing the hands in the pocket, putting on gloves or shaking hands may become difficult since the fingers cannot be straightened completely.
This disease mostly affects men of Northern European descend. The ring finger and pinky are mostly affected although the middle finger can also be affected. There are several treaments that can slow the progression of Dupuytren's contracture and relieve symptoms.
Mild cases of Dupuytren's contracture may not require treatment. Treatments for severe cases of this disease involves removing or breaking apart the cords that are pulling the fingers towards the hand.
The choice of the procedure to use depends on the severity of symptoms and the presence of any other underlying health problem.
Procedures that can be used include:
Needling - a technique in which a needle is inserted through the skin, to puncture and break the cord of tissue thats causing the fingers to contract. This technique can be performed on several fingers at the same time and does not require an incision. Physical therapy is rarely require when this procedure is used. However, contractures can recur despite repeated treatments.
Enzyme injections into the cords to soften and weaken them. Later on doctors manipulate the hand in an attempt to break the cords and straighten the fingers.
Surgery is recommeded for cases of Dupuytren's contracture that have progressed. The main advantage of surgery is that it resylts in a more complete and longer lasting release than that provided by needle and enzyme methods. The main disadvantage is that months of physical therapy is required after surgery and recovery may last longer as compaired to the other procedures.
6 Lifestyle and Coping
Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with Dupuytren's contracture.
Avoiding a tight grip on tools by building up the handles with pipe insulation or cushion tap and using gloves with a heavy padding during heavy grasping tasks can help to prevent Dupuytren's contracture from getting worse.
7 Risks and Complications
The risk factors for having Dupuytren's contracture include:
Dupuytren's contracture can maker its difficult to perform certain functions using tha hand. However, fine motor skills such as writing are rarely affected since the thumb and index finger are not affected by this disease in most cases.
Dupuytren's contracrture can limit a person's ability to fully open the hand, grasp large objects or to get the hand in narrow places.
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