Dupuytren’s contracture is a hand deformity that develops over several years. Excess growth of skin tissue and collagen under the palm forces the fingers to bend inward and remain in that position. With timely medical intervention, the condition can be treated. And for that to happen, one must understand what causes the contracture and the risk factors involved, identify the symptoms, and assess possible treatment options. Here is a brief overview of the same.
Causes and risk factors
Often, genetics play a major role in the development of Dupuytren’s contracture, but the primary causes remain unknown. Here are some other common risk factors to be aware of
This is especially applicable when it comes to adults in their middle age
Men are considered to be more vulnerable to this condition as opposed to women.
Adults hailing from Northern European and Scandinavian regions are known to be the most susceptible to this condition.
- Medical conditions
Those suffering from underlying conditions like diabetes and seizure disorders are at high risk of developing Dupuytren’s contracture.
The regular consumption of alcohol also increases the risk to a great extent.
Common signs and symptoms of Dupuytren’s contracture
The progression of this disease is quite slow and a couple of years may go by before one might notice any symptoms. Also, Dupuytren’s contracture may not affect both hands at the same time. Some of the most common indicators include
- Thick skin and nodules
The skin around the palm starts to thicken and hard tissue begins to form around the affected area. These nodules may feel tender to touch but don’t necessarily result in pain and discomfort.
- Collagen bands
The nodules start spreading inward and begin to form thick bands of collagen that pull the fingers inward. This usually affects the pinky or ring finger and as the bands tighten, and it becomes extremely difficult to pull the fingers back into their normal position.
The fingers are forced to stay in a folded inward position, which can affect one’s ability to perform even the simplest of tasks.
There are specific non-surgical and surgical treatments to help manage Dupuytren’s contracture.
- Non-surgical treatment
For mild-to-moderate cases of Dupuytren’s contracture, non-surgical treatments include the use of steroid injections comprising anti-inflammatory corticosteroids to slow the progression of the disease and splinting techniques to prevent the contracture from affecting any of the fingers.
- Surgical procedures
In cases where the contracture is far more severe, surgery is the only possible option to try and restore normal hand functionality. Fasciotomy and subtotal palmar fasciectomy are the two widely used surgical treatments for reversing the contracture damage.
One must also consider portion sizes and allocate smaller nutritious meals. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole foods rank among the top choices free of sugars and preservatives. Limiting consumption of fats from various meat and dairy sources also helps manage the inflammation. Green and leafy vegetables are also excellent anti-inflammatory foods to include in the daily diet.