Dupuytren’s contracture is a hand condition that can lead to problems with function and movement of the fingers, making normal, everyday activities difficult. There are, however, a number of treatments available to help slow down the progression of the disease and improve motion in the affected fingers.
The hand is intricately composed of many different bones, muscles, and ligaments which allow for complex movement and dexterity. There is a fibrous layer of tissue called the fascia, which is located under the skin in the palm and fingers, and the fascia helps to anchor the skin on the palm of the hand. Dupuytren’s disease causes the fascia to gradually thicken and tighten.
When this happens, it can lead to restricted hand movement and lumps of tissue under the skin in the palm. In severe cases, it can cause one or more of your fingers to stay bent toward the palm and cause acute loss of hand function.
Dupuytren’s contracture often develops very slowly. Although both hands may be affected, one hand is usually affected more than the other. It isn’t normally painful, but you may have difficulty straightening your fingers. Often the ring finger and little finger are most affected.
What Treatment Works?
There is no way to stop the progression of Dupuytren’s disease, but there are a number of both nonoperative and surgical treatment options available to alleviate symptoms. Your hand surgeon will monitor the progress of your condition and advise you on the most effective treatments that would work in your case.
Some of the main treatments include the following:
- Injectable enzymes (Xiaflex) – This injectable prescription medication can soften and dissolve the diseased tissue. This allows the surgeon to then perform manual manipulation of the corded tissue to straighten out the affected finger.
- Corticosteroid injections – This treatment can help to relieve pain and inflammation in the hand.
- Surgery – This may be recommended if the fingers become so flexed and tight that they interfere with the functional use of your hand. The goal of surgery is to restore the correct position of your fingers, to increase finger movement, and to improve overall functioning of the hand. Your hand surgeon will evaluate the severity of the condition in order to decide on the level of surgery. Surgery may involve a procedure to simply divide the thickened bands of tissue, or it can include a palmar fasciectomy to remove all or part of the corded fascia that is causing the contracture. In severe cases, a skin graft may also be necessary.
Can You Recover from Dupuytren’s?
Rehabilitation with a hand therapist is recommended following surgery or in addition to other treatments. This will include strengthening and stretching exercises of your hand as well as therapy treatments to help reduce swelling and ease pain. Your hand therapist will also provide you with a splint to position your hand and promote healing.
Orthopedic Hand Specialist in the Chicago North-West Suburbs
If you have a hand or wrist problem, Dr. Michele Yoon is here to accurately diagnose and treat the source of your pain. She utilizes cutting-edge modalities to provide optimal pain relief and to restore function and motion to your hand and fingers.
If you would like to learn more about our services, contact our office today at (847) 957-4183 or use our convenient online appointment request form now to arrange a one-on-one consultation. We look forward to helping you get your hand back!