Dupuytren’s contracture (DC) is quite common condition, affecting fingers and the hands and leading to bending of the finger(s) towards the palm of the hand. This problem may affect just one finger or several fingers and one or both hands. Men are more likely to develop Dupuytren’s contracture than women, especially of the older age. There are about 20% of men older than 60 years of age and about 20% of women over 80 years of age diagnosed with this condition. Caucasians of European descent and especially those who have someone in the family with Dupuytren’s contracture are also susceptible to this medical problem of the hands.
About Dupuytren’s Contracture
DS is a non-cancerous condition and in most patients symptoms are mild. Although no one can tell what exact cause of this medical problem is, doctors found out that it occurs when there are some small lumps in the connective tissue of the palm. These tissue lumps or nodules form under the skin and after some time, they could progress further, forming cord of shortened tissue. Contraction of these cords causes problems with fingers and patients can’t extend the finger(s) properly. This condition may also become permanent, so affected finger or fingers can’t be moved from bent position.
DC is not painful and many patients have mild symptoms. However, since the condition is progressive in nature, patients usually end up having problems with performing some simple tasks such as buttoning the shirt, because of the bent fingers. Surgical procedure has been known to help patients suffering from Dupuytren’s contracture, but condition appears again in almost 50% of the patients. Surgeons cut out or completely remove the tissue affected with DC in order to reverse the condition. There is also the chance for extensive surgery if the condition reoccurs.
What Causes Dupuytren’s Contracture?
So far, no one has been able to tell what exactly causes this condition. Doctors have identified several factors known to be associated with this problem and some that might contribute to DC as well.
Genetics is one of the most important factors, since some 70% of DC patients have someone in the family suffering from the Dupuytren’s contracture. Even if you inherit the gene for this condition just from one of your parents, you will end up developing DC.
Other factors that are usually associated with DC include: white northern European origin, male sex and older age (over 40 years of age). Heavy smoking and drinking, diabetes, epilepsy and liver cirrhosis may also have something with Dupuytren’s contracture, as well as improperly healed hand injuries, manual work and work with vibrating tools.