Dupuytren's contracture is a condition that causes the fascia (the tissue located throughout the hand and palm) to thicken and tighten. The process typically occurs over a period of several years. Lumps form underneath the skin, eventually hindering the movement of the hand. Check out a few important details you should know about Dupuytren's contracture.
1. Dupuytren's Contracture Appears to Be at Least Partly Genetic
One notable characteristic about Dupuytren's contracture is that the condition does not seem to be an overuse injury.
Men have a higher risk of developing Dupuytren's contracture, especially men who are of Northern European decent. Patients with relatives who have Dupuytren's contracture are more likely to develop the disease.
However, there are some lifestyle factors that may be related. If you smoke, have diabetes, or use alcohol, these factors can increase your chances of developing Dupuytren's contracture.
2. Some Cases of Dupuytren's Contracture Require No Treatment
An interesting detail of Dupuytren's contracture is that some cases never require treatment. Though the patient notices the development of lumps or tightening of the hands, the progression is not severe enough to interfere with the patient's daily activities. Many cases of Dupuytren's contracture are extremely slow to develop and remain mild.
However, if your case of Dupuytren's contracture progresses at a rate that makes it difficult to write or manipulate your hands, there are multiple treatment options that you can explore.
3. There are Non-Surgical Treatment Alternatives Available
If you suffer from a severe case of Dupuytren's contracture, know that surgery is not the first course of treatment. Rather, your doctor will explore other treatment options that will help break up the toughened fascia tissue.
Needling is one treatment that you can explore; it can also be repeated over time to achieve your desired results or to treat tissue that has re-hardened. During a needling session, your doctor will insert a needle into the hard fascia tissue to break it up. It is ideal for patients who experience symptoms of Dupuytren's contracture mainly in their fingers.
Enzyme injections are another treatment alternative. Your doctor will inject the palms with the enzyme, and the enzyme will begin to break down your fascia tissue. Your doctor can then move the fingers to break the tissue up even more.
Mild cases may require lifestyle changes to help prevent the condition from worsening. For example, you may want to avoid using tools that require you to use a tight grip for extended periods. If you do have to complete tasks that necessitate strong grip strength, wearing gloves can help make these tasks more bearable and help you avoid aggravating your Dupuytren's contracture.
For more information, you may want to find a local Dupuytren's Disease Support Group.