What is Dupuytren’s Contracture?
Dupuytren’s Contracture is a genetic disorder whereby the fascia of the hand contracts so that the fingers no longer fully extend.
Common Symptoms & Causes of Dupuytren’s Contracture
The first sign is a tender nodule in the hand. Over time, the nodule grows and becomes a rope-like ‘cord’ that progressively pulls the digit closed. The rate of progression is genetically determined.
There’s not much that can be done to slow down its progression; stretching is not effective. A tender nodule can be injected with steroid to decrease tenderness.
The Dupuytren’s cord should not be surgically removed until there is a contracture / loss of ability to extend the finger. This is because prematurely removing immature disease can speed up the disease’s progression. There a variety of treatments your hand surgeon will discuss with you:
- Needle Aponeurotomy
- Surgical excision
After any the above options have been selected, the hand is splinted for 2 days and then hand therapy starts. It’s crucial to start using the hand early on to avoid stiffness. The hand therapist will make a custom splint that is worn only at night for 6 months. It is believed that night splinting helps decrease recurrence rates.