Dupuytren’s Contracture is the thickening of tissues underneath the palm and fingers. The change in this tissue causes tension within the hand and the fingers may begin to curl upward. The ring finger is most often affected by the condition, though all fingers can curl.
Nodules can form under the skin and although these small lumps are painless, they gradually begin to form thick bands of tissue which affects the movement of the fingers.
The actual cause of Dupuytren’s Contracture is unknown. It is more common after the age of 40 and it affects more men than women. Chances of developing Dupuytren’s Contracture are higher if there is incidence of a pre-existing health condition, such as diabetes, liver disease or heavy alcohol use. The condition also has a hereditary link.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
A physician specializing in care of the hand, such as Dr. Leah Urbanosky of Hinsdale Orthopaedics, will perform a simple physical exam to diagnose Dupuytren’s Contracture. These include a simple touch test to determine how much scar tissue exists, a grip or pinch test and range of motion test.
Some symptoms of Dupuytren’s Contracture include:
Dupuytren’s Contracture isn’t dangerous and some cases do not even develop past small nodules within the palm. However, there are successful options for treatment in case the contracture becomes too difficult to tolerate.
A corticosteroid injection into the lumps in the palm can be a temporary solution to relieve pain. This may also be used in combination with a splint, though a splint doesn’t prevent the bending of fingers, and may actually worsen the condition.
If the contracture worsens, a specialist such as Dr. Urbanosky may recommend surgery. The surgical procedure splits up the thick bands within the hand in order to increase finger mobility. Post-surgery, there may be mild swelling and soreness, but, coupled with physical therapy, finger movement improves greatly.
Xiaflex is a new treatment that is now more commonly accepted by insurance companies. This injectable medication can help to release the contracted cords of Duputryen’s within a day after the first of three injections. It is a collagenase enzyme derived from the clostridium histolyticum bacteria which breaks down scar tissue in a rapidly and aggressively.
If you think that you may be experiencing Dupuytren’s Contracture, contact Dr. Leah Urbanosky for a consultation: (815) 462-3474.
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